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A STUDY ON USING GAMES TO TEACH VOCABULARY TO THIRDGRADERS AT DU HANG KENH PRIMARY SCHOOL, HAI PHONG(WITH REFERENCE TO TIENG ANH 3 ) (Nghiên cứu về việc sử dụng trò chơi để dạy từ vựng cho học sinh lớp 3tại trường Tiểu học Dư Hàng Kênh, Hải Phòng (theo sá

VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, HANOI
UNIVERSITY OF FOREIGN LANGUAGES AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES
FACULTY OF POST- GRADUATE STUDIES

BÙI THỊ THÚY NGA

A STUDY ON USING GAMES TO TEACH VOCABULARY TO THIRD
GRADERS AT DU HANG KENH PRIMARY SCHOOL, HAI PHONG (WITH
REFERENCE TO TIENG ANH 3)
(Nghiên cứu về việc sử dụng trò chơi để dạy từ vựng cho học sinh lớp 3
tại trường Tiểu học Dư Hàng Kênh, Hải Phòng (theo sách giáo khoa Tiếng Anh 3)

M.A. MINOR THESIS

Field: English Teaching Methodology
Code: 60 14 10

HANOI, 2012


VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, HANOI

UNIVERSITY OF FOREIGN LANGUAGES AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES
FACULTY OF POST- GRADUATE STUDIES

BÙI THỊ THÚY NGA

A STUDY ON USING GAMES TO TEACH VOCABULARY TO THIRD
GRADERS AT DU HANG KENH PRIMARY SCHOOL, HAI PHONG (WITH
REFERENCE TO TIENG ANH 3)
(Nghiên cứu về việc sử dụng trò chơi để dạy từ vựng cho học sinh lớp 3
tại trường Tiểu học Dư Hàng Kênh, Hải Phòng (theo sách giáo khoa Tiếng Anh 3)

M.A. MINOR THESIS

Field: English Teaching Methodology
Code: 60 14 10
Supervisor: Pr. Dr. Hoàng Văn Vân

HANOI, 2012


DECLARATION

I, Bui Thi Thuy Nga, state that the minor thesis entitled “A study on using games to
teach vocabulary to third graders at Du Hang Kenh Primary School, Hai Phong
(with reference to Tieng Anh 3)” is the result of my own research, and the thesis has
not, partly or wholly, been submitted to any other university or institution.

Hanoi, September 2012
Author’s signature

Bùi Thị Thúy Nga

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
First and foremost, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my supervisor –
Prof. Dr. Hoang Van Van, who has given me priceless instructions, comments and
support during the process of fulfilling the thesis.
My special thanks also go to all the teachers of English at Du Hang Kenh primary


school as well as in Department of Foreign Languages - Hai Phong Private
University for their help and constructive suggestions.
My gratitude also extends to my lecturers for their interesting and useful lessons
which encouraged me so much.
Last but not least, I would like to send my gratitude to my family and friends for
their valuable care and encouragement.

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ABSTRACT
It is common knowledge that English has become an international language which
has been used all over the world. English plays an important role in social life such
as promoting science and technology, broadening mutual understanding and
strengthening relations between countries and cultures. Therefore, in many
countries in the world, in general, and in Vietnam, in particular, English has been
taught at different levels from pre-school level to university level.
Recently, English has been taught in the light of the communicative, learnercentered approach which gives students more opportunities to communicate in
English. However, in many classes, teaching English in general and teaching
vocabulary in particular has not really developed students’ ability and activeness.
Students still find it difficult to master vocabulary as remembering a word does not
simply means remembering its meaning but also the way it is used. In the
meantime, teachers focus on grammar more than on vocabulary. Sometimes they
use purely one method, which makes the lesson boring and ineffective.
Teaching English to adults presents difficulties, but teaching English to
young learners presents even more difficult level. It is simply because adults and
children have different levels of understanding and different ways of feeling and
judgement. That’s why teaching English to young learners has been paid so much
attention lately.
These problems have inspired the writing of this thesis as an attempt to find
out some useful games to teach vocabulary to 3rd graders in primary schools.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
DECLARATION
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
ABSTRACT
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Part A: Introduction
1. Rationale
2. Aims of the study
3. Methods of the study
4. Scope of the study
5. Design of the study
Part B: Development
Chapter 1: Literature Review
1. Introduction
2. Vocabulary in language teaching and learning
2.1. Definitions of vocabulary
2.2. The role of vocabulary in language teaching and learning
2.3. What about vocabulary teachers should teach students
2.3.1. Aspects of meanings
2.3.1.1. Lexical meaning vs grammatical meaning
2.3.1.2. Denotational meaning vs connotational meaning
2.3.1.3. Meaning relationships
2.3.2. Aspects of forms
2.3.3. Aspects of usage of a word
3. Review on some common methods associated with vocabulary
teaching
3.1.The grammar translation method
3.2. The direct method
3.3. The reading method
3.4. The audio- lingual method
4. Principles of teaching vocabulary
5. Games and its application in teaching vocabulary
5.1. Definitions of games
5.2. Classification of games
5.3. Benefits of using games in teaching vocabulary
5.4. Requirements of a good game for teaching vocabulary
6. Teaching English to young learners vs Teaching English to adults
7. Concluding remarks
Chapter 2: Current situation of teaching and learning Tieng Anh 3 at Du
Hang Kenh Primary School

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1. Introduction
2. Overview of the school
3. The English teachers
4. The third graders
5. Overview of the textbook Tieng Anh 3
6. Concluding remarks
Chapter 3: How to use games to teach vocabulary to third graders at Du
Hang Kenh Primary School (with reference to Tieng Anh 3)
1. Procedures in teaching a game
2. Class observation
2.1. Class 3A1
2.1.1. Game “Stand up when you hear”
2.1.2. Game “Crossword Puzzle”
2.1.3. Game “Bingo”
2.2. Class 3A2
2.2.1. Game “Slap the board”
2.2.2. Game “Pass the word”
2.2.3. Game “Spelling bee”
2.3. General comments
3. My teaching
3.1. Game “Hangman”
3.2. Game “Word completion”
3.3. Game “Jumbled words”
4. Teachers’ reactions and expectations about games given in Tieng Anh
3
5. Learners’ attitudes towards using games in Tieng Anh 3 through
interviews
6. Suggestions
6.1 How to choose a game
6.2. When to use a game
6.3. Suggested games to teach vocabulary in Tieng Anh 3
Part C: Conclusion
1. Summary of the study
2. The limitation of the study
3. Suggestions for further research
References
Appendix 1……………………………………………
Appendix 2…………………………………………..

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PART A: INTRODUCTION
1.

Rationale of the study

It can be seen easily that English nowadays plays an important role than ever
before. It has become an international language which is used widely all over the
world and in all fields of social life such as economy, technology, diplomacy,
foreign trade, education and tourism. Therefore, teaching and learning English have
become necessary for everyone.
In many countries in the world, in general, and in Vietnam, in particular, English
has been widely taught. Recently, English has been taught in the light of the
communicative and learner-centered approach which gives students more chances
to communicate. However, both teaching and learning English has been far away
from satisfaction. Both teachers and students face difficulties when teaching and
learning English vocabulary. There is a common fact that a lot of students cannot
remember words and certainly cannot use them despite teachers’ efforts as well as
their own efforts.
At Du Hang Kenh Primary School, the situation is that the students find it hard to
learn new words and that the techniques exploited during a lesson such as roleplays, reciting chants, singing songs, telling stories …are not quite effective. Hence,
there is a need to find out more games and more techniques to teach vocabulary in
the most effective way. Games have proved themselves not as “time filler activities”
but also a factor which can motivate students in the process of learning and using
English.
From the above-mentioned reasons, the writer would like to carry out a research to
find out the real situation of teaching and learning English at Du Hang Kenh
Primary School, the effectiveness of using games in teaching vocabulary to kids,
which techniques are used in using games to teach vocabulary by the teachers and
to make some suggestions for the better use of games in helping children acquire
fully English words in Tieng Anh 3.

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2. Aim and objectives of the study
As the title of the thesis suggests, the aim of the study is to make a research on how
to use games to teach vocabulary to the third graders at Du Hang Kenh Primary
School (with reference to the textbook Tieng Anh 3). To achieve this aim, the
following tasks are set for study:


examining the importance of using games to teach English to
young children; and



carrying out a small research to find out how the teachers at Du
Hang Kenh Primary School have been using games to teach their students with
the current textbook Tieng Anh 3.

To make it manageable, the research raises following questions for exploration:
1. What is the current situation of teaching and learning English vocabulary
(with reference to Tieng Anh 3) at Du Hang Kenh Primary School?
2. What are the main difficulties of students’ learning and teachers’ teaching
English vocabulary?
3. How have the teachers at Du Hang Kenh Primary School been using games
to teach vocabulary in Tieng Anh 3?
3. Methods of the study
This study uses both qualitative and quantitative methods which provide
background data. Da

ta collections for analysis come from the teachers and

students at Du Hang Kenh Primary School by :
-

Class observation

-

Survey questionnaire

-

Interviews

4. Scope of the study
Since the school year 2011-2012, there have been a number of schools in Hai Phong
City have used in which Tieng Anh 3 to teach English to students is taught. In Le
Chan District, in the school year of 2011-2012, there are only three primary schools
using Tieng Anh 3, including Du Hang Kenh Primary School. Although I know that

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choosing all three schools for my study is a better choice, my study focuses only on
Du Hang Kenh Primary School due to time limitation. In my study, I focus on the
use of games to teach vocabulary, more exactly to consolidate learnt words, to third
graders who are learning Tieng Anh 3. However, I can just observe three classes
among six ones in which some games are applied in vocabulary lessons, interview
and survey five English teachers who are teaching textbook Tieng Anh 3 and
interview thirty third graders to find out their level of satisfaction and expectation.
5. Design of the study
The study is divided into three parts:
1. Part A – Introduction – provides the rationale for the study, aim and
objectives of the study, scope, methodology and design of the study.
2. Part B – Development – consists of three chapters:
-

Chapter 1 focuses on four main issues relating to vocabulary in language
teaching and learning, some common methods associated with vocabulary
teaching, the application of games in teaching vocabulary and teaching English to
young learners.

-

Chapter 2 is devoted to the provision of an overview of current situation of
teaching and learning Tieng Anh 3 at Du Hang Kenh Primary School. Detailed
information about the teachers, students and especially textbook Tieng Anh 3 is
given there.

-

Chapter 3 is concerned with collecting data from Du Hang Kenh Primary
School and analysing these data to find out the teachers’ attitudes towards using
games to teach vocabulary to young learners, teachers’ methods and techniques in
using games to teach vocabulary and teachers’ expectations about games given in
Tieng Anh 3. Besides, data will also be collected to find out students’ reaction
towards games in Tieng Anh 3 and their expectations about their teachers’ teaching
methodology.
3. Part C – Conclusion – summarizes what has been studied, points out the
limitation of the thesis, and makes some suggestions for further study.

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PART B: DEVELOPMENT
CHAPTER 1
LITERATURE REVIEW
1. Introduction
Every language consists of sounds, vocabulary and grammatical structures. Each of
these three components plays an equal role in language teaching and learning. One
cannot communicate in a language without the sounds of that language. One cannot
communicate in a language without learning the vocabulary – the bricks which help
interactants to build the “communication building”. Vocabulary is so important that
British linguist David Wilkins (1972) stated “While without grammar little can be
conveyed, without vocabulary nothing can be conveyed.” Obviously, the
importance of vocabulary is undeniable. It can be seen as an element that links four
skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing together. So as to be successful at
those four skills, a student should acquire a certain number of words and know how
to use them accurately in different situations. There is a fact that students can “know
a word” in written forms quite well but they cannot use words in different contexts
in real life properly. In recent years, CLT (Communicative Language Teaching) has
shown some of its advantages in helping students become more active. Playing
vocabulary games is one common activity in a CLT classroom. It creates more reallife chances for students to practice their English. In this chapter, I will give an
overview of (1) vocabulary in language teaching and learning, (2) some common
methods associated with vocabulary teaching, (3) principles of teaching vocabulary,
(4) the application of games in teaching vocabulary (its definitions, classification,
benefits and requirements of a good game) and (5) teaching English to young
learners in comparison with teaching English to adults.
2. Vocabulary in language teaching and learning
2.1. Definition of vocabulary

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The term vocabulary appears to be a simple concept but in fact, up to now, there
have been no linguists whose definition meets all the characteristics of vocabulary.
Thus, various definitions should be given below.
In his book A course in language teaching, Penny Ur (1996, p.60) stated that
“vocabulary can be defined, roughly, as the words we teach in a foreign language”.
He also said “a new item of vocabulary may be more than a single word, a
compound of two or three words and multi-word idioms”. Vocabulary seen from
this view consists of all the words in a language, regardless of the number of words
in a word. Vocabulary is used as one means to communicate by making utterances
from words. This can be seen in the viewpoint of Pyles and Algeo (1970, p.96).
They saw vocabulary as “the focus of language”. In their opinion, words “allow us
to communicate with one another” and we arrange words “to make sentences,
conversations and discourse of all kinds”.
According to Morgan and Rinvolucri (1986), “A word is a basic unit of a language
denoting concepts, things and phenomena in the society”.
Palmer (1981) also pointed “the semantic unit may be a sequence of several words”.
Word is the smallest meaningful of language.
In short, these statements show that vocabulary is the total number of words that
exist in a language including not only single words but also two-word items or
three-words ones or even multi-word idioms. It serves as a means for people to
communicate. Without it, mutual understanding between people may be hard to be
obtained.
2.2. The role of vocabulary in language teaching and learning
As mentioned above, vocabulary can be considered as the most important part of a
language among three parts: grammar, phonetics and vocabulary. It is indicated
clearly in the saying of Wilkins, a famous British applied linguist, which echoes
what Henry Sweet had said over one hundred years before that “without grammar,
very little can be conveyed, without vocabulary nothing conveyed”. This saying is
also similar to the advice given by Dellar and Hocking (Innovations, 2000) “If you

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spend most of your time studying grammar, your English will not improve very
much. You will see most improvement if you learn more words and expressions.
You can say very little with grammar, but you can say almost anything with
words!”.
Mc. Carthy (1990, p.210) also pointed that “No matter how well the students learn
grammar, no matter how successful the sounds of second language are mastered,
without words to express a wide range of meanings, communication in the second
language just cannot happen in any meaningful ways”. This is why teaching and
learning vocabulary can serve the communicative purposes.
It can be seen that the rich vocabulary helps learners do their communication better.
They have words to express their ideas and understand others’ thinking. A rich
vocabulary promotes the learning of the four skills: listening, reading, writing and
speaking.
This explains why teaching and learning vocabulary is so important. Learning
words is knowing not only its meanings, but also its forms and its usage. Learners
should be taught in such a way so that they can use words to communicate
successfully.
Undeniably, vocabulary teaching and learning are very important, especially in the
high time of the communicative and learner-centered approach. Thus, vocabulary
must be paid a great attention to so that all the learners can have a rich knowledge
of vocabulary.
2.3. What about vocabulary needs to be taught to students
When teachers teach a new English word, they should provide the learners words at
basic level, its meaning and its form. Moreover, students should be taught about the
use of words so that they can use them appropriately. Knowing a word means much
more than knowing its meaning “Knowing a word, means knowing at least it forms,
its meaning and its basic usage” (Nation, 2001).
2.3.1. Aspects of meaning
2.3.1.1. Lexical meaning vs grammatical meaning

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The notional words, whose meanings are lexical, name objects, actions, qualities
and have material meaning such as book, bicycle, to cry, to smile, fast, slowly…in
themselves. They are nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and so on.
The functional words, whose meanings are grammatical, only have their meanings
in relation to other words with which they are used. They are participles, articles or
prepositions.
2.3.1.2. Denotational meaning vs connotational meaning
In actual usage, vocabulary may differ in their stylistic aspect. This leads to
denotational meaning and connotational meaning. Denotational meaning can be
found in dictionary. For example, “cat” denotes a kind of animal which has four
legs. While connotational meaning is related to the attitudes of the language user,
his emotional reaction. For instance, the word “dog” to the British, means
friendship and loyalty whereas to the Arabic, it means dirt and inferiority.
We can see that words have various types of meaning so teachers are required to
choose carefully which meaning to teach and how many meanings to teach in a
limited class hours.
2.3.1.3. Meaning relationship
When teaching new words to students, teachers should explain whether the words
are common, formal or informal, and so on. One thing that teachers should also bear
in their mind is that words have meaning relationships with the others. Learning
meaning relationship is a good way to remember new words. So in their teaching,
teachers should train their students the sense of meaning relationships between
words.
* Synonyms
Synonyms are words that mean the same or nearly the same. For example,
“interest”, “hobby” and “pastime” are synonyms. Learners can use one word to
remember the others which have the same meanings.
* Antonyms

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Antonyms are words that mean the opposite. Using antonyms in teaching
vocabulary is an effective way. Teachers can use old words to teach new words
when they are antonyms. For instance, “generous” is an antonym of “mean”.
* Hyponyms
Hyponyms are words that serve a specific examples of a general concept. For
example, “red”, “blue”, “yellow”, “orange” are hyponyms of colors. Or when
teaching “mammal”, the teacher can say “dog, cat, pig”.
* Superordinates
Superordinates are general concepts that cover all specific items. They are opposite
of hyponyms. For instance, “animal” is the superordinate of dog, lion, fox, camel…
2.3.2. Aspects of forms
Each English word has its pronunciation, spelling and grammatical functions.
2.3.2.1. Spelling and pronunciation
Spelling refers to what the word looks like and pronunciation refers to what the
word sounds like. Knowing the spelling of a word is not a difficult task. On the
contrary, knowing to pronounce correctly a word requires the learners’
understanding in phonetics and phonology. Students have to know the word’s stress
as well as pronunciation rules. When teaching, teachers must be sure that both these
things are presented and learnt.
2.3.2.2. Grammar
When teaching new words, the teachers cannot ignore the grammatical features of a
word, especially when the words are not obviously covered by general grammatical
rules.
Grammatical features include singular and plural forms, regularity and irregularity,
transitiveness or intransitiveness and so on. When teaching the word “mouse”, we
wish to present its plural form “mice”, or in some cases, a noun hasn’t got its plural
forms such as fish, information…
2.3.3. Aspects of usage of a word

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To some extent, we can change the meaning of a word by the way we use it. There
are some phenomena in which the meanings of a word may change, namely
collocations, idioms and metaphor.
Collocation is a case in which words tend to co- occur with others with a high
frequency. Nattinger (1988, p.69) noted that “the meaning of a word has a great deal
to do with the words with which it commonly associate”. Students can take
advantage of dictionary of collocations to know as many as possible.
Word meaning is also changed by metaphorical use or idioms. For instance, the
word “busybody” refers to someone who interferes in the affairs of the others.
In short, the best way to teach vocabulary is to let the learners learn to use a word in
sentences or paragraphs, not to learn it separately.
3. Review on some common methods associated with vocabulary teaching
According to Le Van Canh (2002), “the status of English as an international global
language stresses the need for a new approach to English language teaching”. He
also pointed that “there is no single method or approach that can work for all
teachers or for all learners or under all conditions because teaching is socially
constructed activity” (Le Van Canh, 2004, p.95). Teachers should know as many
approaches and methods as possible. And they need to be flexible and sensitive
enough to choose the best ones for each situation.
3.1. The grammar translation method
This is one of the most traditional methods in the world, dating back to the late
nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. However, it is no longer the leading
method in language education area. As its name suggests, it emphasizes the teaching
of grammar and translation from and into target language. The principal
characteristic of this method is to focus on learning grammatical rules and their
application in translating texts from one language to another one. Vocabulary is
presented mainly by direct translation and memorization. Students spend most of
their lesson time doing grammar exercises while time for oral practice is very little.
Students have very few opportunities to produce sentences themselves. They mainly

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learn grammar structures and follow given ones. Obviously, there is a discrepancy
between grammar accuracy and communication. This method to some extent has
harmful effects on students’ motivation and interests. This can be seen in Rivers’
opinion (1981, p.29) “this method aims at inculcating an understanding of grammar
of the language and training the students to write the new language accurately by
regular practice in translating from the native language”. Krashen (1984, p.128) also
stated that “This approach may be easy, cheap and useful but its relevance is
restricted because its focus is on form and not meaning.”
One thing should be concentrated in this part is the shift from grammar-translation
method to communicative approach which teaches students how to communicate
successfully. Communicative approach puts a great concern on language
acquisition. According to Krashen (1981), “acquisition is a natural process, similar
to the way children develop ability in their first language. It is subconscious process
when students are not aware of the fact that they are acquiring language but are
using the language for communication.” This approach provides students more
opportunities

to

communicate

using

real-life

situations,

creates

more

communicative activities for students to take part in. In short, the main purpose of
communicative approach is to teach students to use language as a means of
communication.
3.2. The direct method
This method is very useful for teaching vocabulary because it focuses on listening
and speaking, which enables the teacher to drill students more on vocabulary. The
words used are very common, authentic and concerning everyday activities.
Teachers can teach through demonstrations, objects and pictures. However, this
method is only used for teaching simple, concrete and specific words. Teachers can
exploit this method to teach English to young learners because words at primary
level are simple. Especially nowadays teaching English is strongly supported by the
development of technology. Instead of bringing real objects to the class, teachers
simply show the pictures on the slides. It is a great advantage.

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3.3. The reading method
This method encourages the students to make use of dictionaries as they read the
passages. It is really useful for teaching vocabulary at advanced level because at
that level, students can consolidate their vocabulary.
3.4. The audio-lingual method
This method emphasizes on the ability of communication, in other words, oral
proficiency. Great importance is attached to pronunciation from the beginning. In
this method, there is much use of tapes, language labs and visual aids. Vocabulary is
strictly limited and learnt in context. It is presented in dialogues, everyday
expressions and basic structures. The learners listen carefully to the teacher or tape
recorder and then repeat it. Moreover, there is little or even no grammatical
explanation. Grammar is taught mainly by drills and examples rather than deductive
explanation.
4. Principles of teaching vocabulary
According to Hubbard et al (1983) and Nation (2003), teaching vocabulary has
some principles:
• If words are presented in a memorable way and practiced regularly, students
may remember them better.
• No matter how new words are presented, students should always be checked
if they have understood the new words.
• Like teaching anything else, when teaching vocabulary, revision is essential.
New words should be revised regularly, otherwise students may forget them.
• High frequency words should be paid more attention than low frequency
ones because they are more useful.
• To help learners self- study effectively, vocabulary learning strategies such as
guessing meaning from context, using dictionary, using word card, using
collocations…) should be trained.
From those principles, we can see that teaching vocabulary to young learners should
be memorable and fun, which helps kids remember words better. One more

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important thing is that new words should be revised regularly through different
activities to make sure students do not forget the words.
5. Games and its application in teaching vocabulary
5.1. Definitions of games
Games are forms of entertainment, which can be in the form of physical activities or
mental activities or mixture of both. Hadfield (1987) gave a definition “a game is an
activity with rules, a goal and an element of fun.” Similarly, Rixon (1981) wrote “a
game consists of play governed by rules”. Gibbs’s definition (1974) is nearly the
same “a game is an activity carried out by cooperating or competing decision
markers, seeking to achieve, within a set of rules, their objectives.”
All these different definitions share three main characteristics of games which are a
goal, a set of rules and players.
Games used in English classes can be considered as one kind of games entitled
language games. Greenal (1984) defines language games as an “activity which is
used to consolidate language already taught or acquired and occurs during the free
stage of lesson or during occasions such as English club meeting…”
In summary, language games can be used at any stage of the lesson to present new
words, consolidate old words or that sort of thing. Games can be physical, mental or
both. Besides, games must have a certain goal, clear rules and players (individually,
in pairs or in groups).
5.2. Classification of games
Hadfield (1987) classified games into the following categories. However, these
ways may overlap.
+ Sorting, ordering or arranging games:
+ Information gap game:
+ Guessing game:
+ Matching game:
+ Puzzle
+ Role-play game:

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In the viewpoint of Lee (1986), games can be categorised as follows:
+ Structure games: Games provide experience of the use of particular patterns of
syntax in communication such as “What is it? Is it…?”, “What’s my name?”,
“Whose is it?”….
+ vocabulary games: Games in which the learners’ attention is focused mainly on
words such as “ What’s this/that?”, “Shopping”, “Coffee-pot”….
+ spelling games: may be looked upon as vocabulary games. Examples of these
games are “Write what you see”, “Write what you hear”, “Word completion”,
“Crossword”, “Spell aloud what you hear”….
+ pronunciation games: these games may base on words and sounds (at elementary
level) or even sentences (at higher levels). For instances, “The same or different”,
“Pronunciation bingo”…
+ number games: Games help the learners to get accustomed to the spoken forms of
numbers such as “Ring a number”, “How many”, “Number Bingo”, “ Missing
numbers”, “What’s the time now?”…..
+ listen-and-do games: In these games, the learners have to listen and understand,
then carry out some actions. Some typical games belonging to this type are “Doing
what you’re told”, “O’Grady says”, “Face to face”….
+ read-and-do games: Some typical games are “Games with flashcards”, “Matching
games”, “Reconstructing the story”…
+ miming and role-play: A situation is simulated in the classroom and the
participants adopt roles which belong to it.
+ discussion games: Games in which discussion plays a dominant role such as “
Who am I?”, “Find someone who…”,
Another way of classifying games is offered by Carrier and the Centre for British
Teachers:
+ Production games: These games are most appropriate for post-practice phase of a
lesson or teaching unit. When playing these games, students can express themselves
more creatively.

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+ word games: including word games, crosswords and spelling games.
+ pronunciation games: These games practice both pronunciation and sound
discrimination in a simple way.
+ fillers (quizzes, puzzles and riddles)
+ communication games: different non-linguistic tasks to be performed to develop
students’ skills in communication.
5.3. Benefits of using games in teaching vocabulary
Different types of methods and techniques create an effective teaching and learning
environment. Using games in teaching is considered to be one of those techniques.
However, the effectiveness of using games in teaching is still controversial among
educators and teachers.
According to Ur (1996), when we say “game”, it refers to something just fun, not
serious. Sometimes, a number of educators and teachers regard using games as mere
time-fillers or time-waster. As a result, many teachers are reluctant to use games
when teaching.
Contrary to those opinions above, many experienced methodology writers have
argued the effectiveness of using games in teaching a foreign language. It is not a
time-filling activity. It has great value.
Wright, Betteridge, Buckly (1984) concluded that “learning through games could
encourage the operation of certain psychological and intellectual factors which
could facilitate communication heightened self esteem, motivation and spontaneity,
reinforcing learning, improving intonation and building confidence”.
Ersoz (2000) maintains that games are highly motivating because they are amusing
and interesting.
Hadfield claimed that “Games should be regarded as an integral part of the language
syllabus, not as an amusing activity for Friday afternoon or for the end of the term”.
He confirmed the effectiveness of using games in teaching and learning English.
In the viewpoint of Richarch Amato (1988, p.147), “games can lower anxiety, thus
making the acquisition of input more likely”.

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In conclusion, there are four advantages of using games in teaching vocabulary that
can be summed up as follows:
• Games can motivate the learners by bringing fun to the classroom.
• Games can provide language practice
• Games encourage learners to communicate with each other


Games increase the cooperation and competition in the class

Games are undeniably useful in vocabulary classes. Using games is an interesting
and effective way to teach vocabulary. Children can learn English through playing,
without thinking they are studying, thus they learn a lot without stress.
5.4. Requirements of a good game for teaching vocabulary
Students may want to play games just for fun. However, teachers should give
convincing reasons when they use games in their lessons. Teachers should not
consider games as a time-filler. They should know “which games to use, when to
use them, how to link them up with the syllabus, textbook or programme and how,
more specifically, different games will benefit students in different ways.” (Khan,
1996). According to Lin Hong (2002), not all games are going to work to teach the
students language skills. If the games are just for fun and do not have any relations
to educational purposes, they should not be used. So to find out if the game is
educationally sound, think about questions raised by Hong:


Which skills does it practice? The language skill focus could be
any one of the major skills of listening, speaking, reading or writing



What types of game is it?



What’s the purpose for using it?



Does it fit the students? How could I simplify or make it more
complex if necessary? Many games require modification in use when the
students’ needs are taken into consideration.



How much interaction and participation is there? Maximum
involvement is something we are pursuing.

In a nutshell, a good game must have clear rules, well-defined goals and fun.

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6. Teaching English to young learners vs teaching English to adults
There is obviously a relationship between physical maturation and language
acquisition. The more mature the children are, the more they can acquire from a
language. Children and adults are clearly different in terms of psychology and level
of knowledge. According to Scott and Ytreberg (1990, p.3), children of five are little
children but children of ten have both an adult side and childish side. Children aged
from eight to ten “have a language with all the basic elements in place”. They have
the ability to understand abstract words and symbols and can generalize and
systematize.
It is a fact that children cannot sit still for a long time to learn as adults. The number
of words in a lesson for children must be fewer than for adults. These differences
require suitable teaching methods and language activities in teaching and learning a
foreign language.
Anyway, young children are different from adults in a point that they are still
learning new concepts, developing and accumulating new things, which have a
great impact on their language acquisition. Teachers and parents should bear in
mind that young children need to be taught in terms of individual educational needs
and interests.
According to Slattery and Willis (2001), children as learners have the following
characteristics:
• Learn in a variety of ways, for example: by watching, by listening, by
imitating and by doing things. It means children learn through what
they see, what they hear in their surrounding environment and then they
imitate by doing things. In other words, children learn by doing things.
• Are not able to understand grammatical rules and explanations about
language. This can be explained in the way that children of five to ten
still have limited knowledge. They cannot understand well the rules of a
language. They can just imitate what they see and hear. That’s why
when teaching primary school students, teachers should provide them

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with sentence patterns, not grammatical rules. The final aim is that the
students can use those sentence patterns to express their ideas.
• Try to make sense of situations by making use of non- verbal clues.
• Talk in their mother tongue about they understand and do this helps
them learn. This means that they understand everything when they use
their mother tongue. Its pedagogical implicature is that teachers
teaching children should use their mother tongue to explain things so
that they can understand.
• Can generally imitate the sounds they hear quite accurately and copy
the way adults speak. This is an important thing. Children learn quickly
what they hear. They can imitate very well. So when teaching words to
children, teachers should pay special attention to pronunciation.
• Love to play and use their imagination. It means they love learning by
playing.
To summarize, children learn by imitating what they see, what they hear and they
like to learn by playing things that makes them use their imagination. Teachers
should say and do well so that their students can imitate good things.
7. Concluding remarks
In this chapter, I have been concerned with the re-examination of some of the key
terms related to my thesis. I have dealt with several definitions of vocabulary, its
importance in teaching and learning a foreign language, some methods as well as
approaches exploited in teaching language in general and vocabulary in particular
such as grammar-translation approach in comparison with communicative approach.
Moreover, the issue of games is of great concern. I have given some definitions of
games, it classification and requirements of a good game. Also in this chapter, I
recommended some differences between teaching English to young learners and
teaching English to adults. These differences have influences on teachers’ choosing
appropriate teaching methods and techniques. Understanding these things well may
result in better analysis in the next chapter.

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