Games are a great way to help students practice what they have learned are a welcome break for them
after hours of active listening and concentration. Their importance is not to be underestimated in
language-learning curricula, because communication shouldn’t be all work and no play. Considering the
wide range of advantages of playing games, it is no wonder that most language instructors believe them
to be one of their most powerful tools.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of using games to develop oral
Games are a great way to practice new vocabulary. They provide students a great context
in which to use their target vocabulary. Instead of going home and memorizing word lists, they
actually get to use them, which, in turn, helps them remember more.
Games help students get rid of inhibitions when it comes to actually speaking the
language, which is a problem for many students. They find it hard to communicate even though
they know a language well enough. Games help them be more creative and spontaneous when
using the language, helping them overcome shyness.
Games help students enhance their communication skills in general. Communication is
at the core of games. Many people think that adult students especially should have much less
trouble communicating when compared to children, but that isn’t really the case. In facts, in
many cases adults are even more nervous to children when it comes to communication and
trying new things. In a friendly competitive environment, they become less afraid to ask
questions or reframe their own thoughts. As a result, games help them better convey their
thoughts and intentions to their teammates.
Games help keep up the levels of energy and motivation. Learning isn’t all about
learning new grammar and vocabulary, then trying to quietly decipher the meaning of a new
text. Playing a game is a nice break from that routine. The competition boosts energy levels and
sort of pushes students to make a cognitive effort in the spirit of winning without them realizing
Although games are a great tool in improving oral communication skills, there may also be some
disadvantages to this method of learning.
The first thing to remember is that games should be fun, controlled fun, to be exact. The
instructor should be monitoring the progress of the game carefully in order to ensure that the
students are indeed getting all the benefits intended by the game. Otherwise, it can become
simply horseplay – too noisy and out of control.
Another thing to consider is that some students may not like games at all and prefer other
activities instead. It’s the instructor’s job to take into account the student preferences and
choose games that will benefit all participants.
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