5 Important Reasons to Gamify The World Language Classroom

Completely real teacher moment.  I've not used games for many reasons in the past. I didn't want to get out of my comfort zone, they were too chaotic (for me), too loud (for me), hard to manage games with larger classes (for me), and the list goes on. Those things still ring true for me at times and I'm sure for many other teachers. Now, I'm learning to gradually embrace all of those things for my students sake.

Recently, I've been incorporating more games and activities into my lessons. The results have been amazing and I plan to continue to use games as a way to grab students attention and reinforce what they are learning in class. 

As I reflected on the use of games in the classroom and how it is affecting my students. I realized how beneficial it would have been for me to know the benefits before this year. The benefits for students are plenty but I've chosen my top five reasons to Gamify the classroom and let students have more fun while learning. 

#1 - Student Engagement

Student engagement has skyrocketed. I've always had students that are different in many ways. Some students are outgoing and some are very shy and unwilling or too nervous to participate in classroom activities and/or games (especially if they have to speak in Spanish). I have seen an increase in confidence in shy and struggling students as they work with other students to complete activities or race to win.

#2 - Reinforce Speaking, Writing, Interpretive Skills

All of the games that I have used require my students to use Spanish in some form. Whether students are playing ¡SEIS!, Carrera Board Game, Running Dictation, Matamoscas, Quizlet Live, Barcos Battleship Game, speed-dating,¡Yo Tengo! ¿Quién tiene?, ¡Qué Memoria! Memory Card Game or Bananagrams they are reading, listening, writing, and speaking in Spanish. Each game is helping students develop the skills they need to communicate effectively in the target language.

#3 - Self-Assessment

Students are able to self-assess and learn from their mistakes. Being able to work through mistakes in a way that is not graded motivates students to try harder. The consequences that are attached to graded assessments don't apply and aren't lasting factors in games. I've heard my students express that they need to work on different skills while participating in games and activities with peers. The students are able to draw their own conclusions of what they need based on their performance.

#4 - Lower Stress Factor

Playing games with classmates has been great for lowering the stress in students. My students get nervous when they are called on in class even if they know the answer. Most times they do know the answer but the stress and pressure of possibly getting something wrong pushes them to the point of not wanting to participate. A smaller setting or group of students working together has helped my students because they are able to guide each other and explain to each other.

#5 - Controlled Competition and Collaboration

This is one of my favorite reasons to gamify the classroom. There is nothing wrong with healthy competition. As I watch my students compete, I'm also amazed because while working in teams they help their teammates understand the content in order to win. They REALLLLLY want to beat the other teams but not so much that they can't help each other.  I love seeing my students learn from each other and work together towards a goal (even if they are competing). It's also great to see the encouragement and support they show each other when working on teams.

I hope you can see some of the benefits of using games in your classroom. Be on the look out for more Gamify Your Classroom blog post. This blog series will give more explanations of games that I use and create to help students learn to use the language. You'll also get to see post about some games used and created by some other AMAZING Spanish teachers.

Drop a comment below of some games you'd like to know more about in detail!


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