TEACHING ENGLISH VOCABULARY BY GAMES
By : Saverinus Kaka, S.Pd.
Learning is one of the primary activities of students in the classroom. Successful learning is only on the right way to lead the process. Good learning atmosphere and method can guide the students to learn more and meaningful. To accomplish such condition, teachers must create varitype and attractive methods for the class.
What should a teacher do if their students get bored? Using varitype games can be an alternative solution to handle this problem. Games, as a matter of fact, can help and encourage many students to sustain their interest and work. By this paper the writer wants to share experiences about how to teach English vocabulary using games.
There is a common perception 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 not really learning. This is a misconception. 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.
Games can help the teachers to create contexts in which the language is useful and meaningful. In the whole process of teaching and learning by games the students can take part widely and open-mindedly. To win the games each student or group should competitively answer the questions addressed by the teacher or other students or groups. In order to do so they must understand what the teacher or others are saying or have written, and they must speak or write in order to express their own point of view or give information.
Many experienced textbook and methodology manuals writers have argued that games are not just time filling activities but have a great educational value. W. R. Lee holds that most language games make learners use the language instead of thinking about learning the correct forms (1979:2). He also says that games should be treated as central not peripheral to the foreign language teaching program. A similar opinion is expressed by Richard-Amato, who believes games to be fun but warns against overlooking their pedagogical value, particularly in foreign language teaching. According to him “Games can lower anxiety, thus making the acquisition of input more likely” (Richard-Amato 1988:147). They are highly motivating and entertaining, and they can give shy students more opportunity to express their opinions and feelings (Hansen 1994:118). They also enable learners to acquire new experiences within a foreign language which are not always possible during a typical lesson.
By those opinion above, it can be concluded that games as “the teaching devices,” perceived as mere time-fillers, “a break from the monotony of drilling” or playful activities. The writer recognizes that many teachers often overlook the fact that in a relaxed atmosphere, real learning takes place, and students use the language they have been exposed to and have practiced earlier. In fact, students remember things faster and better.
1. Games are a welcome break from the usual routine of the language class.
2. Games are motivating and challenging students to get involved and participate actively in the learning activities.
3. Games provide language practice in the various skills; speaking, writing, listening and reading.
4. Games can help them learn and hang on to new words more easily.
5. Games usually involve friendly competition and they keep students interested in learning the language.
6. Vocabulary games bring real world context into the classroom, and increase students’ use of English in a flexible, meaningful and communicative way.
1. Games are often used as short warm-up activities or when there is some time left at the end of a lesson. In this case, a game should not be regarded as a marginal activity filling in odd moments when the teacher and class have nothing better to do. Games ought to be at the heart of teaching (foreign) languages.
2. Games can be used at all stages of the lesson. But teachers must be sure that games provided, are suitable and carefully selected by the teachers.
3. Before playing a game teachers should give attention to the number of students, proficiency level, cultural context, timing, learning topic, and the classroom settings.
4. Games also lend themselves well to revision exercises helping learners recall material in a pleasant, entertaining way.
(The Writer is the headmaster of SMA Tarsisius II, West Jakarta and the Director of Sandlewood International English Course) This article has already been published in INSIDE Magazine – First edition June 2008.