Using board games in the English classroom.
By Renate Telgenhof, SG de Waerdenborch Goor, the Netherlands
To be able to offer the students at the Waerdenborch a different way of practising and using English, we’ve decided to order a number of games to use and play during English class. Apart from being educational it’s also fun.
As soon as the games had been delivered on 18 March they were played and rated by first and second year students of our schools. It was a great success.
So which games were played and tested? And did they all get the students’ approval?
Beat about the bush.
This game can be used to practise speaking skills, is for 2-10 players, but can also be played in teams. You have to describe the object on the card for others to guess correctly without using ‘forbidden’ words.
All students really liked playing this. They got quite competitive! It received a good overall rating from both first and second year students. They understood the intructions, thought it was fun to play and educational as well.
There are versions of this game available on different levels. It’s a speaking skills game in which you have talk about a subject that’s on the card for a number of seconds. To decide for how many, you spin the wheel. After that, the other players rate your speaking skills and the higher the rating, the more scones you can earn!
The students who played this game thought it was okay to play, but not so much fun. They did think it was educational and a good practise for their speaking, but they started losing enthousiasm after having played it for about 15 minutes. Conclusion: good speaking skills practise, but the fun factor is missing.
Roundtrip of Britain and Ireland
This game is a boardgame in which you have to answer questions from different categories such as culture and grammar correctly in order to move forward on the board. So besides speaking English, the students also learn more about Britain and Ireland.
The students thought it was quite fun to play, although finishing one game takes quite some time. Something they mentioned was that the board, which is made of a thick type of paper, wouldn’t survive very long. Secondly, the first year students thought that some of cultural questions were quite difficult to answer. Overall, a nice, educational game to play.
Bang the Button
Just like Scoring Scones, Bang the Button has versions for different levels. The game can also be played in teams. The game is quite active because you have to be the first to bang the button in order to give an answer. But there are also ‘move’ cards, for which even more action is required! The reward is a card with a piece of an image and the first player or team to complete it wins.
Bang the button was highly rated, because of the high fun factor, action and being educational as well. The downside is that the button breaks easily because of students becoming too enthousiastic 😊.
Lingua Ludica is a boardgame which can be played by individuals or in teams. The players roll the dice and move. Then a player from another team draws a card from the pile with the corresponding colour, reads out the question or action, which then has to be answered of acted out. When incorrect, your turn ends. You win the game as soon as you have collected a card from each colour.
Students thought it was an okay game to play and sometimes too easy. It’s more suitable for lower level students. It about practising speaking, as well as grammar and other categories.
Besides the games mentioned above, there are also some other boardgames worth mentioning which are being used for some time in our lessons. These are Guess Who, Storiez, Who/what am I and Tell me quiz.
If you have any great suggestions, feel free to put them in the comments below!