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
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
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
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.
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.
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 22.214.171.124. Lexical meaning vs grammatical meaning 126.96.36.199. Denotational meaning vs connotational meaning 188.8.131.52. 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
i ii iii vi 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 4 4 5 6 6 7 7 7 8 9 9 9 10 11 11 11 12 12 13 14 15 16 18 19
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…………………………………………..
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.
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 : -
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
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.
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
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
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 184.108.40.206. Lexical meaning vs grammatical meaning
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. 220.127.116.11. 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. 18.104.22.168. 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
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. 22.214.171.124. 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. 126.96.36.199. 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
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
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
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.
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
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:
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.
+ 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”.
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.
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
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.