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

1 Comment

  1. In the past, I have built and run whole summer classes on the idea of games and learning the language around them. Students really get into the games and use language quite naturally to communicate with each other during play. I find it very good for motivation and language practice overall.


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