In Indonesia, English is regarded as a Foreign Language instead of a Second Language. There is a common perception in most teachers that all learning should be serious and solemn in nature, and that if one is having fun and there is hilarity and laughter, then it is considered not really learning. This is a misconception. It must be agreed that boredom and anxiety are the main enemies of learning, and that enjoyment can help learners learn and acquire the language. In classrooms, students usually tend to feel bored during the lesson because they have not changed their learning habits, such as writing words on paper, trying to learn by heart or learning passively through the teacher's explanations. I think It is possible to learn a language as well as enjoy oneself at the same time. One of the best ways of doing this is through games.
From my teaching experience I have known how enthusiastic students are about practicing language through games. I have noticed that games are not only fun but a lso give students a chance to learn, to practice and to review the English language in a pleasant atmosphere.
Well-chosen games are extremely useful because they give students a break and at the same time allow students to practice language skills. Games are highly motivating since they are amusing and at the same time challenging. Moreover , the games deliver meaningful and useful language in real contexts. T hey also encourage and increase cooperation among students.
Certain programs on TV, webesites with English learning-related contents, or books providing games in English teaching can be used by or might be inspiring for teachers to design suitable and applicable games for their students. M ore popular language games such as &quot;Twenty Questions,&quot; &quot;The Whispering Game,&quot; &quot;Making a Sentence,&quot; &quot;Asking Yes/No Questions“ and “Grammar Auction” are applicable and appropriate in use.
Here is the sample of game that I performed for grade 7 students outside the classroom. A fellow teacher of mine videotaped the activity and edited it for me. Title of game: Change places if ... Time : 30 - 40 minutes Aim : To practise the language needed to talk about everyday activities. Materials : One copy of worksheet for each student. Procedure: Warm up activity: Give each student a copy of the sheet and brainstorm answers for two or three sentences with your class. Then, ask students to complete the sheet individually with things which are true for them. Monitor and help as necessary. Remind students that they can write negative as well as positive sentences, e.g. I didn’t write an email this morning. Main Activity: Teacher needs a large clear area with no tables for this activity. What teacher needs is only chairs in circle. If the number of students are alot, teacher may split the students into two or three groups. Ask students to sit in a circle with their completed sheets. There should be one chair in the circle less than the number of students. The remaining student stands in the centre. Demonstrate the game by reading out a sentence, e.g. Change places (with someone) if you ate bread for breakfast today. While all those students who ate bread for breakfast are changing their places, the student in the middle tries to find a seat in the circle. The student who is left without a seat in the circle then stands in the middle and reads one of their sentences. Write up the prompt: change your places if you ....on the board and remind students to change their sentence from ‘I’ to ‘you’ . Allow the game to continue until all or most students have had a turn standin in the middle. Stress that this game requires students to be totally honest. Follow Up: Ask students which were the most common activities and which were the most unusual activities. Homework: Write a letter to a pen friend describing a typical day in your life, or ask them to write a diary entry about all things they did yesterday. (From Paul davis & Katie Plumb)
Games should be regarded as supplementary activities. The whole syllabus should not be based on games only -- even for young learners. When choosing a game, the teacher should be careful to find an appropriate one for the class in terms of language and type of participation. Give clear instructions. Unless the learners know what he is expected to do and how to do it, the aim cannot be achieved, and the game cannot be played. Once the game has begun, the teacher should not interrupt to correct mistakes in language use. The teacher should not force an individual to participate. Some learners may not want to participate due to personal reasons. Pushing students to participate us u ally does not have successful results. A game which looks wonderful on the paper may not work in the actual classroom setting. If it is tiring or boring, it should be stopped.
Presented By: Iin Hermiyanto In Amazing Minds South Asia Teachers’ Conference Penang – Malaysia, February 24 – 27, 2011 http://hermiyanto.multiply.com/
As conclusion, learning English through games is an effective and interesting way that can be applied in any classrooms. Games are used not only for fun merely , but more importantly for the useful practice and review of language lessons to i mprove learners' communicative competence.
When a game is to be conducted, the factors such as number of students, proficiency level, timing, learning topic, and the classroom settings should be c onsidered.