A Chinese proverb says, “Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand.”
The concept of game-based learning is not new. Plato asserted the importance of the role of play in children’s education, in his work, The Laws. In the fifteenth century, people were already teaching the alphabet and mathematics to children in attractive ways, using card games or counting biscuits. The use of games as a learning tool is a pivotal theme for child psychologists. In the early thirties Piaget formulated a serious of developmental stages in children’s play, which highlighted the importance of play in relation to children’s physical, social, emotional and cognitive development.
Today, all experts in the field of child development agree on the usefulness and effectiveness of learning through play. When children play, they discover, create, improvise and learn. According to Lev Vygotsky, games are the main source of children’s physical, social and cognitive development. Psychologist David Elkind, also asserts that games, while being source of creativity, are essentially a fundamental mode of learning.
Professionals everywhere, recognize that play and school work are not two separate categories; for children, creation, action and learning are inextricably linked.
Motivation, social skills and knowledge structuring
According to Dr. Fraser Mustard, playing games increases intelligence, stimulates imagination, encourages creative problem solving and helps to develop confidence, self-esteem and a positive attitude to learning.
The virtues of educational games are indeed numerous: children develop the ability to relate to others, to negotiate, discuss, collaborate and share emotions and ideas. They bond and develop friendships, learn to work in teams and enjoy competing with one another. Competition between players enhances learners’ motivation.
Games also promote the structuring of knowledge; they allow the learner to build and organize patterns or representations in order to understand a concept or a situation. Thus, games improve and reinforce learning.
Games and language learning
How do games contribute to language learning?
Language experts recognize several advantages to using games in language courses:
• They help to break up the monotony of a course.
• They are motivating and challenging.
• They help to maintain effort.
• They offer the opportunity to practice oral and written skills, in the form of comprehension and expression.
• They encourage learners to interact and communicate.
• They create an interesting, authentic context for language use.
For games to be effective, teachers must take into account the number of learners, the level of language proficiency, the duration and theme of the lesson as well as the learners’ cultural background. Above all, teachers must adapt and tailor games to the specific learning situation.
At VivaLing, all of our coaches are trained to exploit the spectrum of digital resources available, in order to make the learning of English, Chinese, Spanish and French playful and interactive, and as a result, highly effective.
So what are you waiting for? Register your child at VivaLing now!