Getting English learners to speak up in classes can be really tough. Learners can however be made to participate actively if the learning is fun. This is particularly true of young men and women in their teens taking ESL lessons, teachers have discovered. Learning is fun when they are coaxed with games. Keep the games as simple as possible and in no time you will get them involved and talking. Fun games can really break up the silence that pervades language classes. Games will make your classroom reverberate and lively.
Here are 3 games for ESL teachers who have tough time in making their students speak up. As a teacher of ESL, make the games an integral part of your students’ experience. They have been tried and tested and there is no reason why it should not work in your classes as well. Depending upon the age group you are handling, you can vary the games.
Game # 1: Dice Game
This is one of the simplest of games, and all that you need for this game is a dice. You can buy a poker dice in a sports goods shop; they cost very little. The next thing that you need to do is prepare 6 questions that are simple to answer, but need eloquence to answer. Make the questions relevant to the learner – it should relate to the learners’ family, the college where the learner studied, places they have visited or would like to visit, foods they like most, dresses they would like to wear, what their parents do, about their siblings, or any question you guess will make them think.
You can either write a list of question for each individual (though that will take time) or make a common list of 40 or more questions and let the learners choose 6 questions each. The learner will choose and write down the selected questions on a piece of paper and number them from 1 thru 6. The game begins by each leaner rolling the dice. The number in the dice is the question that a learner will have to answer. Give students enough time to rehearse their answers and then speak to the classroom.
Game # 2: Bingo Game
Most students are familiar with the rules of Bingo so you will not much of instructions to give. The purpose of this game is to get each learner know about the other. Prepare a chart with 5 numbers on it. In this game every learner will prepare a list of experiences they have had – a trek in the forest gone bad, first-time exciting scuba dive, a day in a deserted island or the first cake the learner made in her lifetime are all typical examples to write. After the learners have written down their lists, learners must sit together and pick out at least 40 great experiences to talk about. Of course the teacher can write her own experiences to talk about, but a better way is to let the learners do it.
Next, on the bingo board ask each learner to write down the experience he or she would like to talk about. Match the experience with each other learners and form groups of 2 or 3 and ask them to talk about their common experiences. Each learner should be given a minimum of 2 minutes to talk on their topic of interest. The game comes to end when a particular learner has talked on 5 experiences. He or she is the winner of the game.
Game # 3: Hidden Speaking
Hidden speaking is a fast and energetic game. You can begin the game by writing down several questions on an index card each. Every question should relate to questions that tests the learners abilities at comprehension. The purpose of the game is to improve your learner’s vocabulary. Questions should be as objective as possible. Typically questions that rest on grammar are fine. Even before the learners have arrived for the class, each of the index cards must be kept hidden within the classroom.
Now break your students into two teams (to make them compete) and make them aware that somewhere in the classroom you have hid index cards and it is for them to search and pick one card each and no more. When a student is able to find a card, he or she will have to answer the question they see on the index card. If the answer is correct, then the team to which the student belongs wins a point by retaining the card for the team. A student who finds a card and is unable to answer the question on it also has the option to find someone within the team to find answer for it and then answer it.
Once a card has been answered correctly, the student can search for another and another. Every card answered correctly will add points to his or her team. At the end of a certain time, or when all the cards have been found the game comes to an end, and the team with the most number of cards answered wins the game.
The key to teaching an alien language is in making it fun, and this is especially true of ESL classes, teachers have discovered. The three games here can be adapted to your particular needs.