7.01.2011

A quick suggestion.

Reading a post over at Burndog's Burnblog this morning has me thinking. Some D-bags complaining about games in class. Games are fucking great, so long as you basically use them as complete and total manipulation of the little guys' feeble minds, in which they only really think they are playing a game, but actually they are practicing English. Fucking sneaky, I know.

I know almost everyone has got finals coming up soon, and some of the behavior and focus in classes is probably getting a bit shit, but a lot of material still needs to be covered, so I wanted to just give a quick suggestion.

You all know Bingo is a shit game, right? Like, it's actually the most boring game on the face of the fucking planet, other than Hangman, which is just really incredibly shit. You should never play Bingo for more than five minutes, max. But. I've found a way to use it in class that makes it kind of a five minute reward that makes the students do their shit. And I can't take credit for this, because I actually got the idea from a book, but it can work with almost any question/answer target language lesson.

Basically, instead of having the little bastards practice a dialogue, which we all know they will avoid doing at all costs, you have them write down their answer to the dialogue, and then you give them a blank Bingo card. Then, instead of "practicing with their partner", they are now "making their Bingo card to play the game". They have to walk around and ask every fucker (at least 16) for their answer and their name, and record them on their cards. Then, you take up all of the students' answers, write the Q and A on the board with appropriate blanks, and you ask the question. For example, "What did Jinho have for dinner last night?"

Kids who have Jinho written on their card raise their hands and you choose one, who has to use the A on the board to answer you. "Jinho had bulgogi for dinner last night!" Then, everyone marks out Jinho. You don't even have to give them candy for this shit. Just their viciously competitive natures alone will carry you on this one, and meanwhile they've asked and answered the question 16 times, as well as listened to you ask and their classmates answer the question like 20 more times. And even the biggest asshole amongst them will get his life together and get his ass out of his chair and go do what he should be doing, too (or at least bellow across the room at weaker students to come over and give him their answers), because he doesn't want to be the loser with a blank card who just has to sit there sad and alone when we play the game.

I use this for the really shitty lessons that there's really nothing else to be done with. The kids resent me less, afterward. It's nice.

Use it, don't abuse it. If they get too used to anything, then they start to view it as the enemy. But I thought I'd throw that out there. Good luck, comrades.

9 comments:

sillyleaf said...

Bingo, I remember classroom Bingo... I fondly recall taking out an English novel and reading while the poor French teacher tried to discreetly feed language into the minds of my rebellious classmates...

or math class multiplication bingo, where I doodled on the back of the page until it was over.

3gyupsal said...

That's a cool version of bingo, I'm going to steal it. Thanks

shotgunkorea said...

I've done Bingo with the kids, but instead of calling out the words from the vocabulary list, I only give the definition of each word and they have to match the definition with the correct word. It's slow going for the beginners, but the intermediates and advanced kids really get into it.

Gomushin Girl said...

Part of the problem is that students are so used to sitting there and listening to lectures or doing something mind-numbingly repetetive and passive and inactive, that they percieve *anything* that does not cause immediate harm and boredom as a game. Which means, of course, that practically everything native English teachers do becomes a game.
My kids once completely rebelled when I asked them to do a worksheet at the request of another teacher. "But 쌤! Your class is always game! Game! We want game!" they chanted, and a I roared back that we rarely ever played games, that my class was serious and that I had no idea what they were talking about. I demanded that they name one of these supposed games - and then they rattled off every single classroom activity we'd done for the past month. None of them were games. I had very carefully planned all my lessons, however, to get my high school boys out of their seats and moving and actively practicing the skills we were learning. Essentially, their standards for fun had been set so low, anything that wasn't sitting at their desk memorizing vocab and grammar instantly qualified as a game.

I'm no Picasso said...

Exactly. After two years, I just gave up. Today we are going to play a game! Totally not a game. Just a speaking activity. But fuck it, we'll call it a game. Everything's a game. Whatever. You're happy, I'm happy. I give up.

aprilantipodal said...

Excellent Bingo variant - will store that one away for camp.

I had an open class today so the grade five teachers could see what we get up to, and it was a bog-standard reading lesson with a couple of activities. The overwhelming response was WOW YOUR CLASSES ARE FUN!!! and most of the meeting afterwards was about how back in their day, English was taught by burning it into their arms with lye. Well, not really, but you would think so from how much they hated their elementary school lessons, and I got the impression that most of their classes now are pretty much drudgery too.

Turner said...

Well done. Unfortunately I don't have much say in the games we can do, but I think I'll give my boss the children's version of Taboo before I ship out, see how he likes it.

Gloria said...

To my newer co-teachers (my last semester of working at a public school), I would often explain, "Games are ways to trick the students into practicing their English." Korean teachers (and some old-school teachers in the US) think that learning should look like worksheets and drills. Games, on the other hand, look unstructured and therefore not productive, so there was always a little poo-pooing about how loud English classes were. It is easier to manage students when you're using worksheets or drills, but well structured/designed games are awesome. Hey, the kids having fun, they're using English with each other (aka interactively, which is how language is generally used, rather than listening and repeating), and they're behaving well in order to "play" at the end of the class. It's a pretty win-win(-win-win-win-win) situation.

I do admit that some of the games were ill designed, and I spent most of my prep time designing some other sort of game for them.

Good postings, as usual. I look forward to reading more. :)

Previously said...

I teach kindergarten and they go ape-shit for bingo, all day, every day. Simple call-out-the-number bingo. I definitely feel lucky to deal with what I deal with when I imagine trying to teach older kids who aren't hard-wired to adore every thing that I do.