Teaching English as a foreign language refers to teaching the English language to students with different first languages. Teaching English can occur either within the state school system or more privately, at a language school or with a tutor.
I will focus on two games used with the students in the classroom, in order to prove the importance of teaching English through games.
I. Take Us There! (Directions)
Target: Grammar (Conditional Questions)
Time: 15+ minutes
• Paper (If students draw their own map)
• Map handouts
• (optional) coloured pens or markers
1. Divide the students into groups of 2+ students.
2. Pass out the maps or students can create their own maps of their hometown, their favorite place, or etc. using markers and pens. The easiest way is to print out a variety of maps and give each group a different location.
3. After the groups have a couple of minutes to study the maps (and decorate them if possible), each group must introduce their map! Make sure the students are familiar with their map location! Also they should choose a specific spot (like a station, a restaurant, a hotel, & etc) to describe how to get to. Ex. Student A: This is a map of Kyoto. There are many shrines and temples in the city. I want to go to Ginkakuji. I am at Kyoto Station. How do I get to Ginkakuji?
4. After the students introduce their maps, it’s question time! Other students in the class must ask questions about the country/prefecture/city/ward the group in front of the classroom has. The teacher should write some example question starters on the board so the students have an idea of what kinds of questions to ask. Ex. “Can you tell me how to get to…?” “How do you get to…?” “If you take….you will get to…” “What is…?” “If you…how do you get to…?” etc… (the train/the highway)
5. Once each group has been asked a few questions, move on to the next group. Variations: The level of difficulty depends on how difficult the locations and maps are. To make it easy, have a very simple map for each student and a location they are familiar with. To make it more difficult, have a more detailed map. Notes: Make sure the students understand their maps!
II. Attack Mystery Target: Grammar (Passive Voice)
Time: 20+ minutes
• Stuffed animal or character
• Card set for each group
• Checklist for each student
1. Divide the class into groups of 4. Tell the students about the attack of the stuffed animal (being dramatic helps!). It is up to the students to figure out who, what, and where!
2. Each student gets a checklist with a list of the suspects, attack objects, and places. Each group gets a complete card set, with three of the cards (one suspect, one object, and one place) missing. These three cards are the answer! Students will figure out the answer by finding out which cards are missing. They are placed in a separate envelope to be opened at the end. It is very important that the students do not look in the envelope! The students deal out all of the cards, until none are left.
3. Taking turns, each student makes a guess about the attack, using the structure below. Ex. I think Totoro was attacked by (suspect) in the (place), with the (object). The person sitting to the left of the student who guesses must show only that student one card to disprove their guess. Ex. I think Totoro was attacked by Anpanaman in the library with the toothbrush.
*Student to my left must show me Anpanman, the library, or the toothbrush card. If they don’t have one of the cards, the next person to the left tries. If no one can show a card to disprove the guess, the envelope will be opened to reveal the correct answer.
This project is easy to be used, because it open the horizons of the students and it tries to teach in a different way a foreign language. Its aim is to give the students the skills and confidence they need to enjoy learning English.