Games can be used with learners of all ages and abilities and are key to keeping TEFL lessons lively and engaging. Any good EFL teacher will tell you that having a range of great TEFL games and fun activities up your sleeve is essential.
Games in the TEFL classroom can be used to help students practice grammar, learn new vocabulary and reinforce language points in way that is fun and interactive. We asked our Online Courses Manager, Thomas, who’s been teaching English for over 30 years about why TEFL games are so important for EFL teachers and what his favourite ones to use in the classroom are.
5 reasons why TEFL games work well in the classroom
- 1. Hands-on and so provide a useful memory hook for kinaesthetic learners.
2. Games are fun, and so catch students’ attention and lower anxiety.
3. They are normally controlled practice, getting student’ to use the language accurately.
4. Often done in pairs/small teams, and so students can interact together.
5. Games provide a meaningful context for engaging practice.
Thomas’ favourite TEFL games to use in the classroom
I often use this when students arrive in class, to revise what they learned the day before.
So, when students come into class, I divide them into teams.
Let’s say the lesson was about animals.
The first member of each team has to run to the board and write an animal mentioned in the last class, run back and pass it to next student (then go to the back of the line) and so on, till the teacher says stop. When finished, count up each animal per team and the winner has the most points.
An important rule would be that students cannot copy, or they lose a point. So, say two teams write ‘lion’, then it is the team who wrote it first who get that point.
This is a great game to use because, not only does it get them revising the last lesson, but it also gets the students moving as soon as they come in, so they are having fun and are more motivated for the rest of the lesson.
‘If I were you, …’
I write a problem each student has and with a post-it, stick on their backs, so they cannot see their own. The students have to mingle and read each other’s problem (e.g. you have lost your keys) and give each other advice, not mentioning their problem directly. Advice could be: ‘If I were you, I’d call a locksmith’ etc.
After a few minutes, they all sit down and try to guess what their problem was after hearing all the advice. Then they look at the post-it to check.
I like this game because students are moving around and interacting with each other and use the target language from the lesson. Also, they get to be creative with the language as they think of different pieces of advice.
If you’re looking for more great TEFL games and warmers take a look at our resource packs. And if you have any favourites of your own share them in the comments below!