Monday, April 02, 2012

Taking English out of the classroom

English language teachers are always looking for new ways to increase children exposure to the target language and to enlarge children’s world experiences.

Why do not bring English to the playground?

From BBC Radio 4
It is very well known that games are fun and children like to play them. That in itself is a strong argument to incorporate them in the ESL classroom and organize some games to be played during the playground time.

Through games children experiment, discover, and interact with their environment. Playing games is a vital and natural part of growing up and learning. If we do not include games into the syllabus the children will lose an essential tool for understanding their world.

Circle games brings fun and language
For many children between four and twelve years, language learning will not be the key motivational factor. But games can provide this stimulus. The game context makes the English language immediately useful to the children. It brings the target language to life.

“The game makes the reasons for speaking plausible even to reluctant children” (Lewis, 1999)

These are some web sites and materials with playground games: the ones I use them! I have got special care to select fun games, but always keeping in mind the language component and the communicative interaction.

Playground fun is a learning tool for the classroom and playground with articles and teaching materials. Playground fun, based on an idea by University of Glasgow, aims to bring together traditional and modern playground and street games for children aged 7–9 and aims to encourage children to take part in physical activity through education.

I know this is a classical one, but I always found Woodlands Junior School site terribly useful! They say that these are the games children love to play in England and around the world. It is a great way to compare children's plays, games, playgroud activities, and rhymes from different countries.

More than activities and games to be played in the payground, British Council propose some classroom to know the language to use in there, the objects they will find, actions, rules, and so one.

These are the flashcards I've got on the door of my English class, to promote playing in English in the playground. Every day we choose one group of games and we decide which one to play. I've got a big box full of balls, skipping ropes, big playground chalks to draw lines on the floor, a parachute, colour bandanas,elastics for French skipping, ...

Finally, a material I use a lot from my stage in New Zealand with traditional playground games and activities. May you find a little short of language practice, but just by explaining the activity, giving the rules and instructions and proposing some vocabulary to be used during the game, you are doing a lot of listening comprehension!

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