It ain’t a game!

Children love games but adults spending hard-earned money and time on language card-game-cards-gambling-102107classes are not always so happy at the idea of ‘frivolous’ games.  We haven’t stopped the activities but we have banned the word ‘game’ from planning and the classroom replacing it with ‘language practice task’.  We encourage teachers to state exactly what type of practice they are giving the learners and why it is needed. The effect of this has been that learners are happier to do fun tasks if they understand there is a transparent learning or practice point. With the teacher focussed on language aims, there is clearer task management, pace, and improved lesson balance.



1 Comment

  1. Amen. SO many “teachers” I’ve observed seem to forget the students are 1. adults with a real need to improve their English and 2. paying a lot of money. Perhaps this is because a lot of teachers are, themselves, monolingual, and can only conceptualize semi-proficient English as indicative of childishness (?) I know a teacher who regularly “does Halloween games” with her adult students and I observed one who infantilized her (adult, qualified engineer) students with drawings of shapes. Another –an ESL PhD advisor– uses NURSERY RHYMES and Finding Nemo in her ESL support class — at PhD level (she, herself, doesn’t have a PhD, of course). Honestly, I wish those teachers themselves had to learn/survive in another language, and had to pay for lessons in it. They’d soon want to cut to the chase with the “fun” stuff, where the main aim seems to be kill the time/amuse the teacher/not have to do anything too difficult. Ugh — the power wielded in ESL classrooms is so often so fraught. I’m glad you’re raising this. Thank you.


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