Learning English as a second language can be a challenging undertaking, but English games can help students retain both vocabulary and grammar with ease. The human brain is designed to contain and process a great deal of information, but the straight information-dump approach of memorization lacks the component of recall. By associating words with actions, it becomes easier for the brain to recall the vocabulary when needed.
Language Association Games
When learning English, games can strengthen connections within the brain that contribute to the process of recall. Games that create associations between similar words are especially effective. One example of a language-association game involves choosing a topic, and going around the room, having each person say a vocabulary word that relates to that topic. For example, if the topic is “color,” the responses might be “red,” “blue,” “white,” or “yellow.” When someone can’t think of a new vocabulary word on their turn, they must come up with the next topic, and the game begins again.
Throwing and Catching Games
Another simple game that can aid in language mastery can be played nearly anywhere and requires only a small, soft ball, and a list of topics like geography, food, culture, or anything the group wishes to discuss. First, the teacher tosses the ball to one of the students and asks them a question about one of the decided topics. The student answers the question, and then tosses the ball to the next person. The thrower asks the catcher a new question about one of the topics. The catcher becomes the next thrower, asking the next person a question, and so on, around the room.
English games can make learning English as a second language more intuitive. By combining physical activity and active thinking with memorization, vocabulary, and grammar, ESL students can improve their skills while having fun! What kind of language games do you find helpful when learning a new language?