Play and Games in the Primary Classroom - Teacher's Zone

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Play and Games in the Primary Classroom

by Anna Sawa

"Play is the work of childchood."
                     [Jean Piaget]

Playing games with ESL students

Children  learn a foreign language through play and games. Active learning  presuposses a lot of advantages, however teachers can meet some  problems. What take into consideration to make sure your students get  all the profits?

Advantages of play and games
Lessons  including games are fun and provide meaningful situations to practise  and improve a foreign language. Games help to form a positive attitude  to learning and develope teamwork skills. Children foster co-operation  and participation as well.
Play  and games add variety to lessons and valuable way to reenergise young  learners. They provide not only secure learning environment but also  they are highly motivated. Children play and they do not even know that  they practise hidden language items and fluency of speech.

Disadvantages of play and games
Playing  games can cause hustle and bustle in the classroom. In such a  situation, it is easy to lose control of the class. Sometimes children  are as involved in the game that they start to talk in their mother  tongue. What is more, game can be too competitive and can cause  arguments about scored points. Teachers can also face parents' opinion  that games are waste time in the classroom.

Taking  into consideration all the pros and cons of play and games in the  classroom, plan the activities to avoid all the 'cons'. First of all  activities should be well-matched to your students, neither too simple  nor too complicated. What is more, they should be fitted to your  classroom - make sure there is enough space to play safely. Brief  thought-out instructions are crucial to avoid boredom befor the game  begins. Moreover, teachers should plan carefuly lexical aspect and  introduce language which will be used. As children playing monitor if  all the students are involved and interested in the game. Remember to be  vigiliant and defuse the problems at the start.

Initially  playing games in the classroom can be hard, especially in big classes.  However, if you scrape through the beginning, children learn co-operate  in groups. Using the same activity with different language elements  students will play the game without any introductions.
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