Teach English Abroad   Games in the TEFL Classroom

Teaching students a foreign language is a challange. However, it is possible to make the process not only educational but also fun. Find out what games can help you in your TEFL classroom.
 
Games in the TEFL Classroom
Games are very useful and effective. They encourage being active, people like to win and they include some physical activities when participants stand up and move around.

Sometimes adults are not eager to play games, because:
1) They consider them childish and stupid. You should wait a little bit before using some games, because students may feel shy to play them. The attitude to such activities should not be too serious. Moreover, it is better to call them an “activity,” not a game.

2) Sometimes adults cheat during English class games. They are too lazy to follow the rules. The task of the teacher is to make rules that have sense or change them if it is required. The teacher should see the rules to be followed. When students know that someone is cheating, they do not want to play unfair games, because it lessens their chances for victory.

Pay attention to some games

Hot seat
The teacher should divide the class into two teams; each team sends one representative to the front of the class. He sits on a chair with his/her back to the board.
The teacher writes a word (the representative does not see ir, because he sits back to the blackboard). The task of the team is to explain or define that word to the representative who should guess it. The representative who first guesses the word correctly receives a point for the team. Then another two representatives take part in the game. The teacher may allow applying pantomime or form of the word on the board for its definition (“Teacher”…a person who teaches) and sometimes any translation.

Stop the Bus/Categories
The teacher should divide the class into groups containing three or four people participants. Then he writes on the board five or more categories (foods, nouns including more than five letters, jobs, adjectives to describe character, animals, capitol cities). The teacher nouns a letter (H); the students should write one word in each category starting with that letter (hot dog, hamburger, hotel receptionist, helpful, hyena, Havana). It is recommended to do the first word together with the group to have students understood that they should do. As soon as there is one example for each category written down, the students say: “Stop the bus!” and the teacher checks these examples. Then you may do the same activity with another letter. One more possible variant of the game is to give the students some time to think over the examples of each category. The teacher counts how may examples that are not repeated by another group they have written.
 
TEFL Guessing Games
Guessing games motivate much. You may show students a postcard and ask where it should be. It is recommended to provide students some facts concerning a famous person and ask who this person is. People have pleasure in taking part in competitions.
 
Twenty questions – It is recommended to do this game in a whole class or team, then do in in small groups or pairs to make student speak more.
Lateral thinking puzzles - gdimension or at ELT Notebook  can be applied. Unscramble the words – it is used to revise information. If you have an active or young group, you should write the words on the whiteboard, then the students in pairs should have some time before wriite as many words as they remember on the board applying a different color pen. The participant of one group can write down the correct word and give the pen to another team to write another word.
Crossword puzzles – students should explain and guess words.
Stories – the teacher finds an interesting story, it may be a scary, mysterious or funny story. While reading the teacher makes a pause and the students should ask the teacher at least three questions to have more information concerning future events.

The teacher should have clear instructions, give clues or help students if such necessity arises. Moreover, the teacher should divide teams properly for proper balance.
The choice of the games depends on the activity of students and their age. Nevertheless, it is good to apply competitions, because they are natural and fun. Games motivate and help to avoid routine and boredom.