When Smith students at Ikoma come into the room they are almost always greeted with a cheerful smile and greeting. After that the class proceeds with a ball game for kids and the one point lesson for adults. This means games have already started for kids. We’ve got a ball, we are moving in the classroom, and it’s fun. Adult classes are a little bit more subtle. But I have games for the adults as well.
Games of movement
Moving is a really good thing to do in a game. In fact chances are if you’re moving it feels a little bit like a game. Standing around in one spot of the class and then announcing where you’re going to go and then going there has already become a game. I’m lucky because my class is big enough that we can move around like this. And we frequently do. That game allows us to learn how to use gonna as a regular expression. But we can also use other games with simple props like dolls and handmade houses. Then we can work on prepositions and get lots of movement in the class and everybody enjoys those games.
Games of rules
I often have games in my adult class where there are rules. The rules are based on either grammar or vocabulary. They’re almost always simple rules. An example is you have to use so plus an adjective in your answer. It’s a really simple rule but it stretches my students creativity and at the same time it’s fun. It’s a game. And as we move around the table when other students are saying their answers you’re listening students are thinking of answers that they might say, or planning out their next answer. They’re very involved and it’s a game.
Of course then there are games where we actually have a real game. In our hands we have a playing board. We have dice. We have cards. These games are traditional games that everybody thinks of as a game. They’re fun. I like to use them at the end of the class because they’re lighter and easier and at the same time they let us practice English. But I don’t want to trap myself into thinking that these are the only games.
So to sum it up, there are the games of movement, the games of following the rules, and then traditional formal games like card games or board games which are great for learning English. At the Smith school of English I love to have games and my students love it just as much as I do. We’re all having fun and learning English. If you haven’t taken a lesson in my class, stop in for a trial lesson and see what you think.