Classroom games provide students with the opportunity to learn while engaging in a competition. These games can take a host of forms and can be applied to nearly any subject. There are definite benefits to incorporating games into the classroom. By stepping away from the traditional lecture and teaching methods of decades past, educators can allow their students to benefit from high-interest, interactive games.
While lectures and individual activities have been used heavily in teaching for centuries, these tools are not the most effective tools for engaging students. Games are often significantly more effective in promoting student involvement in the lesson. Participants in games have an intrinsic motivation to win. This drive keeps them tuned in to the lesson and learning throughout the activity. Games also allow students to interact with the material in a hands-on fashion, instead of simply being presented with the information and asked to retain it.
While some games are solitary pursuits, many require teamwork. Students will need teamwork once they leave school and enter the real world. Teamwork is helpful in a host of situations. By allowing students to engage in game play, teachers are providing them with the opportunity to practice working cooperatively. To work effectively as a team, students must be respectful of their teammates and work with these individuals to reach a conclusion or solve a problem. In the real world, we often have to work with people we don't like, just like in classroom games, where we are not always teamed with out best friends.
Build Good Sportsmanship
Sportsmanship is the ability to respond with grace to situations of victory and defeat. Individuals who exhibit good sportsmanship do not pout at a loss or display any outward signs of anger with their defeat. They likely still feel displeasure at their loss, but they manage to channel that emotion into preparing for a future match. Likewise, winners do not become excessively boastful or arrogant. They may celebrate their victory but not at the expense of their opponent. As students engage in game play through their education, they develop the skills necessary to be a good sportsman. Handling victory or defeat in such a refined manner takes practice, and these academic games give the students the practice they require to acquire the ability to respond appropriately to either outcome.
Practice Problem-Solving Skills
Success in many classroom games requires problem solving. To win, students must figure out an answer or navigate a puzzle. When teachers have students participate in these games, they are providing them with the opportunity to practice and hone their problem-solving skills. The more students practice solving these complex problems, the better they will become at critical thinking.
- game image by JoÃ£o Freitas from Fotolia.com