The language of playing games

Like many teachers, I use games in the classroom. It might be something quite basic like a quiz game or a game to review to some vocabulary. Sometimes it’s a more involved game based around the idea of a board game. Board games are generative and adaptable to target a variety of language aims. Such games also have their own language in terms of vocabulary to refer to the pieces (dice, counters, board etc.) and phrases such as ‘You go next.’, ‘It’s your turn.”, “Move forward 1 space.” and so on.

Recently I used a snakes and ladders board game with students to review question forms. During the game students asked me about the names of the items (counters, dice) and they also wanted the language to talk about the rules (e.g. go up ladders and down snakes).

(This is the board game which uses the template provided in ETpedia Materials Writing, published by Pavilion)

So the next time I brought a board game into the class, I decided to pre-teach the language for playing games. I made a worksheet which you can click on below. It’s fairly straightforward to use and takes about ten minutes with a pre-intermediate class or above to work through. Having completed it, you’ll hear students using the language for playing games at the same time they are practising whatever the language point of the game is. Anyway, print out this copy and try it for yourself. It’d be good to hear any feedback from you by leaving a comment on this post.

The language of games worksheet

I’ll also be talking about using games in the classroom in a webinar on February 13th and 15th, 2018. Register by clicking here.

Categories: Using games

Tags: , ,

6 replies

  1. Great worksheet! Most of my students are a little reluctant to use English while playing games. But clarifying language can encourage them. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I’ve found similar game on British Council – Snakes and ladders board game. It’s amazing what a difference a few fun board games can make!

  3. Hi John,

    Just to let you know that we’ve shortlisted this blog post for this month’s TeachingEnglish blog award and I’ll be putting up a post about it on today’s TeachingEnglish Facebook page, if you’d like to check there for comments.


  4. Very nice idea it can also make it for many lessons thank you for giving us ideas like this useful

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: