Games for Young Learners

CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION Many researches stated that learning a language is better started from early age because in this stage the children will be easier to acquire the language, sooner they start learning, more proficient they will be in using the language. Therefore, presently, English is introduced starting from kindergarten and becomes one lesson subject that must be taken in elementary school based on government’s rule in Indonesia. In this level, the children are usually called by young learners. Young learners are those who just start the formal school until they are in eleven or twelve years old.
Teaching English for young learner is not easy task as it is seen because children are interested in fun activity rather than listening to the teacher who talk in front of the class explaining something that they do not understand. What usually happened in the classroom is that teacher gives so much speech in front of the class and explains many theories and concepts of the language that the children do not understand about. Because of this reason, the children will start to get bored and play with their friends and make chaos.
Then, the teacher will surrender of facing chaos in the classroom and get angry until then scold to the children that will make them feel afraid to study. It is not purely children mistake, but it is happened because teacher does not know how to manage the class and keep the children’s attention. The teacher should remember that young learners are different from an adult. They are not interested in studying since they do not have motivation from learning yet. They are interested in game, story, tale, song, and other fun activities.

In this case, the teacher should be able to manage the class as fun as possible and find an enjoyable ways to teaching the language naturally. It can be done by designing an activity that takes their attention. Playing such kind of games could be a best way to get the children’s attention. Games are closed to children world and through these children can learn the language naturally since these activities will make them involve into the learning process. It means that they learn directly through listening, watching making interaction, and also moving around. Children learn from an authentic material.
This paper will show how games can be an effective tool for learning activity. Through this paper, the writer expects that teacher can understand how game can bring many benefits if it is implemented in language learning classroom. CHAPTER II CONTENT 1. Games for Teaching Young Learners Children like playing games since it allow them to have fun and move around the class. They could involve in the games naturally since it is their world. Children could learn through playing and in playing they could interact and develop the language skills through communication.
Games also make a wonderful atmosphere in the classroom. Some researchers said that games could improve children’s learning and can be an effective tool for teaching the language. Besides that, games could be highly motivating since games give competition and also challenge for them. Further, in playing the games they could use the language in real context that would make them have strong memory since games make children use the language instead of thinking about the forms and concepts of the language.
Wells (1981) stated that “in working on first language acquisition, found clear evidence that a child who has a lot of opportunities for negotiating meaning – for making sure that he/she has properly understood what is being said develops language skills more rapidly than a child who does not. Games can create these opportunities in the foreign language classroom by setting out situations where children urgently need and want to communicate in order to have a turn at playing, to point out the rules, to challenge another player and so on”. Games could cover many language skills.
Through games, children can use the language directly, they also listen to the other in other to finish the games. Besides that, language aspects, such as grammar, vocabulary and etc, could be involved in the games. It is based on the teacher’s imagination, creativity, and sensitivity to make the games become useful tool for learning. 2. The Advantages of Games for Teaching Young Learners There are some advantages of using games as classroom activity, they are: a. Games could decrease anxiety of learning a new language and it will make the language transfer going smoothly.
The children would not feel that they are under pressure. They learn the language in a good and relax atmosphere. In a good, relaxed atmosphere which is created, children would remember things faster, easier and better. b. Games are highly motivating and entertaining. In order words, games bring more fun into the classroom and could give motivation to students since games contain a challenge. c. Games give them new experience of using foreign language that would not available during regular language learning classroom. . Games involve all learners to participate. It means that silent students are also invited to participate and give their contribution in playing the game sp all students have the same opportunity to practice and use the language. e. Furthermore, games give different atmosphere to the classroom activities, break the ice and also can be used to introduce new ideas. According to (Vernon, www. teachingenglishgames. com), there are some reasons of using games for language learning, they are: The first reason why games are so useful is that games make learning fun, children have willingness to participate and are not just present in class because they have to be. Students pay more attention because when they enjoy themselves, they do better, feel better about themselves, and do even better – it is a learning cycle working in their favor. (Vernon, www. teachingenglishgames. com) • Next reason is playing a game has a purpose and an outcome. In order to play, students have to say things. Therefore, they have a reason to communicate and this makes them want to know and learn more.
In addition to this, games stimulate and motivate children to a new level. They know that if they do not pay attention, they will not be able to play the game well and they will let their team down so they make more effort to join in and learn as much as possible. (Vernon, www. teachingenglishgames. com) • The proverb ‘repetition is the mother of skill’ becomes very meaningful during the games in children’s language class as students get to use the language all the time with a lot of repetition. Although repetition is boring in some cases, during games it is fun for children.
Also because of the fun involved in the game a massive amount of vocabulary and grammar can be revised in a short time because it is very difficult for learners to remember vocabulary if they never use it. Furthermore, the physical movement involved in some of the games also helps keep children stimulated and alert. Children naturally have a lot of energy and are not good at attending formal lessons for long periods, and so if they participate in a game involving physical movements from time to time, they will never get impatient and bored.
Most importantly, the philosophy of encouragement incorporated into these games increases confidence in all students. Usually this does not just mean they get better at only English, but in all subjects in school. This in turn makes the teachers more motivated and optimistic, and they can really make a difference in their lessons. (Vernon, www. teachingenglishgames. com) • Apart from all this, language games like any other games involve learners in a healthy competition that can help them learn more. “As long as no one is forced to participate, competition can be positive and encourage player discovery, examination and learning. (Vernon, www. teachingenglishgames. com) • Thus, creating the right type of language games can foster this healthy, beneficial competition in the classroom. Finally language games create a bond between the teacher and their students, which is fulfilling for the teacher and students alike. In short, if used properly by the teacher, games are excellent ways whereby children have fun and at the same time acquire a language. (Vernon, www. teachingenglishgames. com) 3. How to Use Games for Teaching In using games for language learning, there are something that should be considered by the teacher they are: . Make sure that the games that are going to be used have educational purpose. There is no point in playing a game just for the sake of playing a game. Teacher needs to ensure that all games have some sort of teaching element to it and already modify based on the syllabus’ purpose. For example, the popular game, ‘Simon Says’ can help listening skills, the students need to listen for the word ‘Simon’ and the action of the word. Word bingo games also can help the students recognize any new words. b. Considering the level of the students.
Teacher needs to use games that are not only good for learning English but also games that challenging the students in some way. A game that is too easy for the students will have little educational value and the students will become very bored. c. Choosing games based on the age of students. Chose a game that is appropriate for the age of the students when teaching. Games that adults find fun will not usually be fun for children and vice versa. d. Don’t let the children choose the game! If you ask the students to play a game that they know. Children tend choose a game with no educational value.
You can always add educational value to your games by insisting the loser answers a question, spells a word, etc. Ensure that your game is teaching at the same time as having fun e. Teacher should have an effort to vary the games. Students of all ages and ability will get bored if you keep doing the same thing over and over again, this also applies when playing games for teaching English to young learners. Many games can be downloaded free from many sources in the internet. In implementing games in the classroom, teacher should be able to give the children clear instruction about how to play the games.
It is better to give them direct example rather than give long explanation that might make them feel confused. And also, although games are fun, using games for long period also can make the children feel bored since they repeat the same activity for long period. The teacher should be creative in managing the class so everything could go smoothly. CHAPTER III CLOSURE After all, we can conclude that games as a teaching activity is not just a warm up and icebreaker activity but it can be the main activity in the learning process.
Besides that, using games in the classroom activity can make an affective learning atmosphere because it gives many advantages for the language learning, such as: creating a good atmosphere, learning process will be fun and cheerful because the class will be live up, etc. Games also will decrease the chaos that may be faced by the teacher. Besides that, Games create contextual learning for the students. Games that are made for learning activity is not simple as it seem since it need some consideration for making it appropriates to be used as the main activity in the classroom.
REFERENCES Ara, Shaheen. (2009). Use of Songs, Rhymes and Games in Teaching English to Young Learners in Bangladesh. Journal of Linguistics 2,3: 161-172 How to teach English using games. (n. d. ). Retrived December 11, 2011, from  http://factoidz. com/how-to-teach-english-using-games/ Yolageldili, Gulin & Arikan, Arda. (2011). Effectiveness of Using Games in Teaching Grammar to Young Learners. Elementary Education Online 10,1: 219-229 Vernon, S. A. Benefits of using games in the classroom. Retrieved on December 20, 2009, from www. teachingenglishgames. com

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