In a new section on the My TEFL Journey blog, I will share some of my teaching methods with you all. I make no claims to have originated any of these, but they are certainly methods that I have found to be effective. This first one in this series is English games. Language games have many positive aspects; they are educational, fun, and, generally, require quick thinking. I find these games to be an excellent end of lesson item – particularly effective when tailored to the vocabulary or subject of the preceding lessons. Most of these games are for small groups, but are easily adaptable for larger classes.
Shiritori is an old Japanese game, but works equally well with English. The basic idea is that each participant has to name a word beginning with the last letter of the previous word (Game – English – Headache, for example). Words cannot be used more than once (an endless repetition of ‘Dog – God’ soon becomes tiresome), and it becomes particularly challenging if you decrease the time limit after each round – you’ll be surprised how quickly student’s minds can work in English when they are under pressure. Although the Japanese version of this game ends when the player reaches the ‘n’ sound (as there is no word in Japanese beginning with ‘n’, although some words have this sound at the end), in English it is almost endless, so the last person remaining wins – students are ‘out’ if they take too long, or if they make a mistake. The letter ‘X’ is normally a no-go the second, or third time round for most students. Xylophone… Xenophobe… erm… X-Men?
Depending on the number of students in your class, you might want to put your students into teams, or make this more of a written game. Simply, request one word from each participant beginning with consecutive letters of the alphabet. Again, this works better when the pace gradually increases. You can also limit the acceptable words to specific categories – food, business etc. You’ll find students really dig deep to remember once-forgotten vocabulary.
I hope these games help your lessons! If you have any lesson plans you’d like to share with us, let me know!