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The importance of games in education

   Unquestionably, the field of language teaching has known a drastic change moving from the classic educational model, wherein teaching is deemed a serious matter, to the most flexible and communicative approaches upon which contemporary methods are based. Thus, a funny low anxiety atmosphere in the classroom has become a prerequisite to effective learning. The use of games, which is the scope of this paper, is only one way among others to foster that atmosphere.
Why use games?
There is a common perception that all learning should be serious and solemn in nature and that if one is having fun and there is hilarity and laughter, then it is not really learning. This is a misconception. It is possible to learn a language as well as enjoy oneself at the same time. One of the best ways of doing this is through games. Many experienced textbook and methodology manuals writers have argued that games are not just time-filling activities but have a great educational value. W. R. Lee holds that most language games make learners use the language instead of thinking about learning the correct forms (1979:2). He also says that games should be treated as central not peripheral to the foreign language teaching programme.Howevern he warns against overlooking games’ pedagogical value, particularly in foreign language teaching.
  It is proven that the use of games in the field of teaching (game theory) has numerous advantages. Richard-Amato (1988:147) says «Games can lower anxiety, thus making the acquisition of input more likely". Games are highly motivating and entertaining, and they can give shy students more opportunity to express their opinions and feelings (Hansen 1994:118). They also enable learners to acquire new experiences within a foreign language which are not always possible during a typical lesson. Furthermore, to quote Richard-Amato, they, "add diversion to the regular classroom activities," break the ice, "[but also] they are used to introduce new ideas" (1988:147). In the easy, relaxed atmosphere which is created by using games, students remember things faster and better (Wierus and Wierus 1994:218).
As an EFL teacher, I strongly believe  games to be a good way of practising language, for they provide a model of what learners will use the language for in real life in the future.  Games encourage, entertain, teach, and promote fluency as well. Besides being a welcome break from the usual routine of the language class, They also provide language practice in the various skills: speaking, writing, listening and reading. Vocabulary games, for instance, bring real world context into the classroom, and increase students’ use of English in a flexible, meaningful and communicative way. In addition to this, the use of games in the classroom deepens a sense of collaboration, altruism, and socialization. In the same vein, Piaget (1967) saw children`s games as, ´the most admirable social institutions`.

 


        Here is a website about some games to use in the classroom: http://gamestolearnenglish.com/



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