ESL games are supposed to be easy and fun. However many new language teachers don’t know how to set up an ESL game properly. It’s not that the game is bad. It’s not that the students are bad. Most times if an ESL game is unsuccessful in class it’s simply because the teacher didn’t introduce the game properly.
Make sure the students are paying attention . Do not let your class touch any game objects while your explaining the game. Kids get distracted very easily, it’s much better to keep the objects visible but away from them. Keeping the objects visible sparks curiosity which will in turn make it easier to set up the game.
How to Set up an ESL Game:
- Demonstrate the game as easily as possible.
- Use the simplest instructions and the least amount of English you can. Once the students comprehend the game you can add the language later on.
- Play the game by yourself.
- Play the game with a stronger student.
- Slowly bring other students into the game.
- Start the game properly.
As a teacher you have to remember to relax. If your having fun the class can sense it and will follow your lead.
- The game is practice at English. Students don’t have to be perfect.
- Different students have different abilities. Make sure your game is level appropriate. Better students should have harder objectives so that they don’t get bored. Lower students should have simpler goals so they don’t get discouraged.
- Winning doesn’t matter. Keep points to spark competition but the second the game is over everyone forgets the points anyways so don’t stress about them.
- If your playing against them…DESTROY THEM. Not with the English but with the game. Be the best ESL UNO player you can be! That way if and when they beat you it means more to your students.
Remember EVERY GAME GETS BORING. If your classes behavior is starting to slip, quit the game as soon as possible. If you finish a game while the class is still having fun they’ll beg to play longer. If you let it go on too long, they’ll never want to play again.