Using Games in the ELL Classroom, Part I
In the Middle East long ago, Nasreddin Hodja crossed the border every day with bales of hay carried by a donkey. The guards were sure he was a smuggler but could never find anything. Years later, one of the guards retired and saw Hodja at a market. "I'm retired, so you can tell me now, what were you smuggling?" Hodja replied, "Donkeys, only donkeys."
It was very obvious to Hodja what was going on every day, but not so obvious to the guards. Teachers can use games in a similar way. "Trick them into thinking they aren't learning and they do," says Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski, a teacher character in the HBO television series The Wire . In the show, he gets a very challenging group of kids to learn math by showing them how to determine odds as they play dice for Monopoly money.
Learning another language can be a challenging and often frustrating experience for many of our students. No matter how motivated students are, a good teacher must have many instructional tools at his or her disposal to help students engage in the class and not have to endure it. Games are...
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