Games for teaching

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Games for teaching.

Games are one of the most useful strategies to encourage language acquisition. Some teachers think that games are a waste of time and prefer not to use them in classroom since they sometimes have been considered only for its one element that is fun. In fact, games can provide EFL and ESL students more than that. They have been used to promote students' language proficiency in variety of aspects: grammar, vocabulary, writing, speaking etc. This part aims to give a clear understanding of what games are, why and how games are used in the classroom.

2.2.1. Definition of games in teaching.

In order to understand the concept of games in teaching, we see ideas of the researchers about games in general.

Deesri (2002) gives the definition to game as one kind of effective activity that you do to have fun. Hadfield (1990) says that game is a language activity with the rules, goals and elements of fun carried out by cooperating and competing players. Greenal (1990) also defines games as an element of competition between students or teams in the language practice.

Thus, we can see that games consist of plays governed by rules, relaxation, cooperation and competition. Games can motivate the students to focus on learning, because they do not feel forced and stressed. For this, Games are used for developing skills, vocabulary, or grammar, etc.

2.2.2. Advantages of using games in language classes.

Games have advantages and effectiveness in the language classes. What are these advantages?

Games are used to motivate students very highly, whenever they have opportunity to play a game, they are encouraged to choose their players and this motivates them to participle in playing game. However, sometimes, choosing the player is made by the teacher in order to help the weaker students interact with the more able ones. As a result, the weaker students are helped to gain confidence or knowledge by being guided by their fellow students. Games are also an element of competition between players. According to Saricoban & Metin (2000), games provide competition to enhance the motivation of the students. Like that, competition will help students pay attention to learning and engage in the activities in the class much more. And Nguyen & Khuat (2003) also point out that games involve friendly competition and they make students interested. These help the motivation for students of English to get involved and participate actively in learning.

Students always feel tired of grammatical lessons, words and long time learning periods. Games are used to change learning atmosphere to help students reduce the stress in the classroom. As a result, games will bring students fun and relaxation, they will study more effectively. Wierus & Wierus (1994) shows that in the easy, relaxed atmosphere which is created by using games, students remember things faster and better (cited in Uberman, 1998). It is clear that students naturally want to play language games because these games can help them practice their language through playing. Therefore, it is the right time to offer them a game when they are tired of acquiring new lessons that they do not want to continue. Carrier (1990) suggests that games can be used to emphasize long formal teaching units and renew students' energy before returning to more formal learning.

Games stimulate students to work together in role-playing, talking, arguing and debating, and using the language in a variety of contexts. Even when played competitively, games demand a high degree of cooperation. It proves that student-student communication is created. On the other hand, when using a game, the teacher acts as a helper. He helps his students what they need to complete the games, such as: new words, new structures or some suggestions. Carrier(1990) claims that games are often used in language classes to encourage students' participation and corporation and can remove the inhibitions of those who feel intimidated by formal classroom situations. In addition, when using games with classmates in groups students do not worry too much about mistakes or they will be corrected by other students.

Finally, games help increase students' proficiency, so when students play a game they have to work with others, they interact and use skills concerning language. To complete the game, all the members work together to score as many points as possible. To win the game or to solve the problem, students have to think and answer the questions addressed by the teacher or other students. In order to do so they must understand that the teacher or the classmates order to practice. Playing games in the classroom can enormously increase students' ability in using language because students have a chance to use language with a purpose in the situation provided (Deesri, 2002). Further support comes from Zdybiewska (1994), who believes games to be a good way of practicing language, for they provide a mode of what learners will use the language for on real life in the future (cited in Uberman, 1998).

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