Learning Games - Advanced Level

Term Paper 2005 15 Pages

English - Pedagogy, Didactics, Literature Studies



1. Introduction

2. Definition of Games

3. Different Types of Games

4. Advantages of Games

5. What to Bear in Mind?

6. Learning Games

7. Advantages of Learning Games for Advanced Learners

8. Examples of Learning Games in Advanced Groups
8.1. Crossword puzzles
8.2. Proverbs, Similes and Collocations
8.2.1. Split Proverbs / Similes
8.2.2. Multiple Choice
8.2.3. Collocations
8.3. Matching games
8.4. Guess who you are
8.5. Biographies
8.6. Market Research
8.7. Balloon Game

9. Conclusion

10. Bibliography

1. Introduction

Learning a foreign language is always based on developing, improving and practising the four basic skills reading, speaking, listening and writing. Therefore, pupils have to imitate their teacher and repeat certain given patterns again and again to learn and get used to the spelling and pronunciation of the target language. This can, if always done in the same way, cause monotony and boredom among the learners and can lead to a low motivation. To avoid this development, teachers should try to involve as much activity and variations as possible to make the lessons more lively. Using games in the classroom can support the vitality of the learning process a lot and can help to motivate the pupils. They can be a good alternative to repetition drills or teacher centred lessons and can not only be helpful for teaching beginners a foreign language, but also to make lessons of advanced learners more varied.

But, of course, a lot of facts have to be borne in mind and to be considered when games shall be integrated in the lesson.

The following implementations will contain information about what games actually are, why they should be used and what is important to be aware of if they are used. Furthermore, the type of learning games and their advantages for advanced learners will be discussed. Finally, examples for learning games in advanced groups will be given and explained.

2. Definition of Games

A clear definition of games is very difficult to make, but there are certain criteria which make up a game and distinguish it from work, since playing games can serve as recovery or to release energy.[1]

Games are in most cases nonutility for anything or anyone else but the player himself. Only who takes part in the game can profit by it, while it does not have any influence on the surrounding.

Furthermore, games use to be pleasant for the participants so that they like to repeat it. During many games it is possible to try out and discover different ways of handling certain situations without affecting the reality. This can be very helpful for the players to learn how to react correctly if they come across such a situation in their real life. Additionally, a game always has an ambivalent character, so that the participants never know how it will end. Another trait of games is that past or future do not influence them and aren’t influenced by them as well. Games always happen at the present time they are played at.

You can also distinguish between ‘games’ and ‘play’. While ‘play’ means free playing of children without rules or structures, ‘games’ have fixed rules and their development can be planned.[2] They have a clear beginning and a fixed ending with an aim which is “visible and stimulating” for the participants, since they often contain cooperation as well as rivalry, which can be motivating.[3]

3. Different Types of Games

Since games are a good method to support the improvement of the skills reading, writing, listening and speaking, it can be distinguished between different kind of games for each skill.[4] First of all, there are oral games during which the participants use the target language by speaking and understanding it. Since these talks, which at the beginning mostly consist of the repetition of given phrases, shouldn’t seem aimless and without a meaningful context, oral games can give the repeated patterns a sense.[5] They can be used during the whole learning process, from repetition drills up to complete dialogues and role plays. The aims and the structure of the games should always be clear to the participants.[6]

Furthermore, it is very important for learners of a foreign language to pronounce the words correctly, because often there are sounds which are quite unfamiliar to the learner. Only to imitate the teacher and to repeat the same phrases again and again can be very boring for the pupils. Therefore, games can make these pronunciation drills much more interesting and motivate the learners to become aware of differences in sounds and difficult pronunciations.[7]

Next to these oral skills, correct reading and writing of the target language are important to teach. These abilities can also be improved and developed by using games.[8] They can help to make reading and writing not a mechanical lining up of letters and syllables but a recognition of words and phrases, for example with the help of flash cards.[9]

Another kind of language games are the spelling games. Correct spelling is very important in written communication with other speakers of the target language. Therefore, it is necessary for the learner to get a visual image of every word. This includes, that it is fundamental for the teacher to correct misspellings at once. Spelling games should not contain wrong spellings in order to make the learners arrange the letters in the right order, since this can cause a lot of confusion. The games can also be helpful to include the words in contexts, which is especially important for homophones.[10]

In Addition, you can use games in class for a short warming up session at the beginning of a lesson. These games do not actually have to be aimed at the improvement of the above mentioned skills, but can be conducive to the community in the class by cooperation during the game. These games can be used to motivate the pupils and to stimulate their curiosity towards the subject.[11]


[1] Klippel, Friederike. Lernspiele im Englischunterricht. Paderborn, München, Wien, Zürich: Schöningh Verlag, 1980, p.11

[2] Ibid. p.13.

[3] cf. Lee, W.R.: Language-Teaching, Games and Contests. London: Oxford University Press, 1965, p.1.

[4] Ibid. p.2.

[5] Ibid. p. 12f.

[6] cf. Bloom, Julchen. Erich Blaich. Renate Löffler: Spielen und Lernen im Englischunterricht. Berlin: Cornelsen Verlag, 1986, p.8.

[7] cf. Lee, W.R.: Language-Teaching, Games and Contest. p.66f.

[8] Ibid. p.87.

[9] Ibid. p.88f.

[10] Ibid. p.116f.

[11] cf. Bloom, Julchen. Erich Blaich. Renate Löffler: Spielen und Lernen im Englischunterricht.p.7f.


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University of Paderborn – Fakultät für Kulturwissenschaften
Learning Games Advanced Level Proseminar Language




Title: Learning Games - Advanced Level