Monday, June 26, 2017

7 Grammar Games Which Make Language Learning More Effective and Fun by Steven Wesley

Language learners usually seek for instant knowledge and hope to develop basic conversation skills quickly. In the meantime, they often get terrified by the grammar rules, stop their efforts and don’t approach new languages ever again. But it doesn’t have to be like this. Grammar is the core of any language, and if understood correctly, it becomes a powerful weapon in a learner's arsenal. How can you make grammar learning less scary and more fun? Here’s a suggestion - through grammar games!

But why games? Studies have shown that learning through gamification enhances the foreign language acquisition process. Just like Carol Tackett, an English tutor at BestDissertation.com, recently stated:

“Learning is the process which depends on participant’s emotions and self-belief. Persons who learn through games are more engaged and strongly believe that understanding the new language is but a few steps away.”

Best language learning games

In this post, we'll review the 7 best language learning games. These games are universal and available for many languages, while you can play most of them in pairs or groups. Let’s check them out.


Stand up if you’ve ever… 

Stand up if you’ve ever … is one of the most inspiring language games. It’s an excellent conversation booster as it encourages learners to describe their life events or feelings in front of the whole group. It’s a great way to make everybody engaged and practice grammar through discussions on personal experiences.

The person who talks about a specific experience is standing and invites other participants to stand up if they went through the same situation. For instance, you can invite them saying: Stand up if you’ve ever been to Paris. In case you are the only person standing, you get one point. In the end, the winner is the person who deserves the most points.


Would you rather?

This is a highly creative game which boosts imagination but also improves participants’ grammar skills. One learner asks a strange question and then the rest of the players provide answers along with explanations why they choose one thing over other. Here are some examples of common but very amusing questions:
Would you rather travel 100 years into the future or 100 years into the past?
Would you rather be bitten by a venomous snake or a venomous spider?
Would you rather have to shout or whisper all the time?
Probably best not to travel 150 years into the past...

Original Origins

Original Origins is another question-based grammar game but with a nice plot twist. Instead of a weird question, students are supposed to give extraordinary answers. It’s not the true or false thing even if you know the right answer. It’s rather about animating learners to be creative and original. This game encourages outside-the-box thinking, which leads to strange solutions and complex sentence structures. In such circumstances, students need to use grammar properly to express their opinions and answer questions.

Grammar police

Mobile devices are all around us these days. Therefore, smart phones make an inevitable learning tool even when it comes to discovering new languages. If you and your friends are studying the same language, Grammar Police is the perfect way to improve knowledge in the digital environment as well. It allows you to become a genuine grammar police officer and correct your peers while messaging using foreign languages. It’s a great game because all participants in the conversation will be careful not to make mistakes. On the other hand, they will also search through the text to warn you about the omissions that you have made.

Jeopardy

Jeopardy is a well-known TV show which used to attract millions of viewers. It also became a successful language-learning game as it forces students to think and come up with appropriate answers using foreign languages. It’s an outstanding way to improve vocabulary and grammar through well-structured questions and answers. All you need is a dashboard with vocabulary divisions that can bring different point bonuses. You can play in teams or individually by choosing your own category and the corresponding value. Jeopardy will test your knowledge, vocabulary, and grammar. What more can you ask from a simple language game?


Word chain

You know, like a chain, but with words.
Word chain is a classic language game. It’s very simple but still extremely clever and amusing. You and your peers can pick the topic or word classes such as nouns or adjectives - it all depends on what is your subject of interest at the moment. You start the game by saying one word from the given part of speech and a player after you has to continue the line by saying another word beginning with the last letter of the previous word. Though it sounds too simple, it soon becomes very difficult to come up with a new term and you’ll need an enormous knowledge to keep winning.


Grammar Ninja

Have you ever dreamed of becoming a true ninja master like Bruce Lee or Ip Man? Well, I admit I have. Unfortunately, it takes a gigantic set of skills and everyday training to become one. Fortunately enough, there is Grammar Ninja to help you achieve your dreams at least in the digital world. And all you need there is to learn grammar. This game tests your knowledge through a series of questions about the word classes. You start by taking basic challenges about nouns and verbs to earn the beginner ninja status. As you advance, you’ll clear your way towards becoming the mighty master ninja.

The traditional approach to language learning relies on reading and repetition. Though still in use, this concept lost much of its importance due to new trends like gamification. Both theoretical studies and empirical research proved that learning through games increase students’ knowledge faster and makes the whole process more fun and effective. There are dozens of interesting language games but we made a list of 7 most productive solutions for language learners. Each one of these has its own advantages, so don’t hesitate to try them out and have some fun in the process!

Steven Wesley is an ESL teacher, ed tech enthusiast and education blogger. He is interested in educational, technological and political issues and believes in the mighty power of the pen to change the modern world. Follow him on Twitter.