Using Games in Teaching Grammar

Topicality Games offer students a fun-filled and relaxing learning atmosphere. After learning and practicing new vocabulary, students have the opportunity to use language in a non-stressful way. While playing games, the learners’ attention is on the message, not on the language. Rather than pay attention to the correctness of linguistic forms, most participants will do all they can to win.

This eases the fear of negative evaluation, the concern of being negatively judged in public, and which is one of the main factors inhibiting language learners from using the target language in front of other people. In a game-oriented context, anxiety is reduced and speech fluency is generated-thus communicative competence is achieved. Games are also motivating. Games introduce an element of competition into language-building activities. This provides valuable impetus to a purposeful use of language (Prasad 2003).

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In other words, these activities create a meaningful context for language use. The competitive ambiance also makes learners concentrate and think intensively during the learning process, which enhances unconscious acquisition of inputs. Most students who have experienced game-oriented activities hold positive attitudes towards them (Uberman 1998). An action research conducted by Huyen and Nga (2003), students said that they liked the relaxed atmosphere, the competitiveness, and the motivation that games brought to the classroom.

On the effectiveness of games, teachers in Huyen & Nga’s (2003) reported that action research reported that their students seem to learn more quickly and retain the learned materials better in a stress-free and comfortable environment. There are names of scholars who mentioned games in teaching grammar in their work: Arif Saricoban and Esen Metin, Aydan Ersoz, Joel Bacha, Lin Hong, Agnieszka Uberman, Nguyen Thi Thanh Huyen and Khuat Thi Thu Nga. Accoring to Arif Saricoban and Esen Metin, authors of “Songs, Verse and Games for Teaching Grammar” explain how and why games work for teaching grammar in an ESL classroom.

They say, “Games and problem-solving activities, which are task-based and have a purpose beyond the production of correct speech, are the examples of the most preferable communicative activities. ” They go on to explain that grammar games help children not only gain knowledge but be able to apply and use that learning.  Aydan Ersoz, author of “Six Games for the ESL/EFL Classroom”, also explains more reasons why games do work for teaching grammar. Learning a language requires constant effort and that can be tiring.

Ersoz says games can counter this as because:

  • Games that are amusing and challenging are highly motivating.
  • Games allow meaningful use of the language in context.

Joel Bacha, author of “Play and Affect in Language Learning”, explains how this theory works. Exposure to challenges and stimulation piques the children’s natural curiosity and, in turn, promotes learning through the activity’s required skills. This is because activities that get the students to move around activate their mental capacities and stimulate neural networks, thus promoting learning and retention.

Bacha’s article goes on to point out that some studies are even beginning to show that intrinsic motivation can promote long-term language retention.  Lin Hong, author of “Using Games in Teaching English to Young Learners”, explains that not all games are going to work to teach the students language skills. If the game is simply for fun and not linked to educational goals it may not be the best use of your time. It is possible to have a fun game that is educationally sound, however.

From ‘Games for Language Learning’ by Andrew Wright, David Betteridge and Michael Buckby ‘Language learning is hard work. Effort is required at every moment and must be maintained over a long period of time. Games help and encourage many learners to sustain their interest and work. Games also help the teacher to create contexts in which the language is useful and meaningful. The learners want to take part and in order to do so must understand what others are saying or have written, and they must speak or write in order to express their own point of view or give information.

According to ‘The Use of Games For Vocabulary Presentation and Revision by Agnieszka Uberman Games encourage, entertain, teach, and promote fluency. If not for any of these reasons, they should be used just because they help students see beauty in a foreign language and not just problems that at times seem overwhelming.

Second, games usually involve friendly competition and they keep learners interested. These create the motivation for learners of English to get involved and participate actively in the learning activities. Third, vocabulary games bring real world context into the classroom, and enhance students use of English in a flexible, communicative way.

The theme of our course paper is «Using games in teaching grammar» Object of investigation is the process of teaching grammar and pupils who are involved in this teaching process. Subject of investigation are grammar games in teaching English. The aims of the research are to describe the role of games on language lessons, views of different linguists on the problem of using games and differentiate various types of grammar games. Objectives: To identify and explain the significant role of using grammar games in practice; To analyze the adequacy and efficiency in using games; To investigate grammar games in teaching process and distinguish different types of games. Hypothesis: Using games in teaching grammar makes the lesson more comprehensible and interesting;

Using varied types of grammar games increases the student’s motivation and involves them in the teaching process. Basis of investigation: Taraz State Pedagogical Institute, school № 41 Methods of investigation:

  • Analysis of the scientific literature on a theme of a course work;
  • Observation of programs and textbooks on the English language of foreign authors and for various types of schools;
  •  Method of comparative analysis and method of statistical research.

The theoretical value of this course paper is in the fact that we have analyzed the teaching methods and found the most appropriate one. The practical value of our work is in the fact that given methodical recommendations and great number of exercises can be applied by teachers of foreign language in teaching process.

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Using Games in Teaching Grammar. (2016, Oct 14). Retrieved from