I Don’t Like Games in Class

I was asked to run a session for teachers about using games in the ESL/EFL classroom. I can’t say I love the topic, or that I have a lot of ‘expert knowledge’ to share, at the same time I have a couple of ideas and insights on the topic. For these 60 minutes with teachers I don’t want to end up offering and playing a bunch of  classroom games, and my session title (hopefully!) communicates this.

image credit: pixabay

So… games in the classroom. Thinking about the topic, I did the following: 

  1. asked my #PLN (Personal Learning Network) on Twitter and in the Reflective Practice Group what kind of resources and ideas they would suggest focusing on in the session.
  2. attended Dr. Deborah Healey’s webinar for Macmillan Education (highly recommend reading this article by the speaker
  3. looked through my own notes from various courses to pick some of the favorite ideas that often help me in the classroom or training room
  4. had conversations about games in the classroom with my colleagues, face-to-face and online. 
  5. am writing this post 🙂

Who will the audience be?

It is hard to predict the exact type of audience in this event, but I anticipate there will be teachers from private or semi-private sector in Ukraine, who are actively searching for variety and creativity in their classrooms, and using the winter vacation time for CPD and growth.

What will the session be about? 

After looking at/reviewing some definitions (e.g. games, gamification, game-based learning, hard fun, serious games, educational games, etc.), we will reflect on the games that are being used in the teachers’ classrooms. [this may be tricky, as I am not familiar with the audience]. I will then share some possible ways I have tried to ‘gamify’ my lessons and/or training courses, and if time allows, there will be a time to create a new(er) type of game element for the teachers’ contexts. 

What will the session outcomes be like?

Having only 60 minutes for the topic as broad and large as this one, I don’t want to go ‘broad and shallow’, tackling many areas and not coming up with anything specific. I would like each session participant to be confident and inspired that there are resources in his/her ‘arsenal’ to bring game elements into the lessons they plan and teach. Letting them create a list of 2-4 concrete ideas to gamilfy a specific lesson (or a part of a lesson) would be something tangible and observable for me by the end of that hour. 

What kind of reading could be done before the session?

Some questions to continue our conversation:

  • Do you like games in your classroom/training room? (why and why not?)
  • Have you ever taught a game-based lesson (GBL)? Do you see GBL as a separate lesson planning framework? 
  • What aspects of your teaching have you ‘gamified’? Would like to gamilfy?
  • What questions about using games in the classroom do you ask yourself (and/or others?)
  • Do your students like games in class? How do you know?

Update: please take a look at the session slides here. Feedback is appreciated!

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