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Subject: Any ideas for adult learners of English as a second language? rss

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Yohann
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Hello,

this is my 1st post in the BGG forum so I'll try to do things the right way.

Actually, I provide professional trainings in ESL to adults (between 25 and 60) and I'd like to get some new ideas for the occasional gaming activities I sometimes organize at the end of big training sessions, but still with bits of pedagogy regarding English structures and conversation.

So far, Taboo and Say Anything have been big hits with my trainees, especially the latter, but I think it's time to offer them something fresh and new. I thought about The Big Idea, and I still need to get my hands on the English version.

So, any ideas you'd like to share? goo

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Charles Waterman
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Hello fellow ESL professional!

Here's a few off the top of my head:

1) Word on the Street= Fun, competitive vocab/speed spelling game
2) The Chain Game = Practice of word combinations, phrases, 2-4 word idioms and phrasal verbs =
3) Say What? = fun *activity* to use while just sitting around for 10-30 minutes having coffee at the end of the class.
4) Argue (get the version with the "Player Assignment Cards" (this edition of the game is easier to use with 7-10 players) = fun way to practice *disagreeing* and persuasive language in a fast, funny game setting. Very American-centric topics, so may need to create your own topic cards if you're teaching outside of a US setting. The "Distraction" cards are hilarious!

5) Quao = nutty talking about yourself / making fill-in-the-blank sentences quickly game with fun "forfeits" and one secret rule each round.

I also recommend The Big Idea - but it will work better with Intermediate-Mid or higher students as it requires a lot of creativity in creating "inventions" quickly. I use it as a writing prompt!

That's the first five I can come up with. If there is a lot of response to your question and I think of another game I didn't mention, I'll let you know.

Chuck Waterman

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Yohann
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Thanks a lot for these interesting pieces of advice.

I've just checked them and here's what I think:

1) Word on the Street = looks interesting but the board might be a bit of a turn-off.
2) The Chain Game = might just be what I need especially for upper-intermediate and advanced learners.
3) Say What? = This could be quite amusing for pre-intermediate, intermediate learners during our daily "compulsory" chit-chats, but I'm afraid it might kill off spontaneity a little.
4) Argue = this one looks great but I think you're right, I'd better just take the idea make my own topic cards.
5) Quao = might be the least suitable of the 5 as it looks like it involves too much "playing against one another". My classes are often made of people working together but at different positions in their hierarchy (technicians with their project manager or department director), and it might just create bits of tension at the end of the sessions that I won't have time to diffuse.

So, to sum things up, I think that The Chain Game and a tweaked Argue are the two games I'll retain for my future intensive training sessions.

Thanks again,

Yohann
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quelf elf
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Yohann, you may want to send a geekmail (just click on the envelope by his name) to
Alistair Stafford
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I think he's mentioned he's an ESL (or EFL?) teacher who's made extensive use of games in his classes.
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Yohann
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Thanks for the tip quelf elf
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Gérard Kraus
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Hey,

I can't say that I've taught adults, but have found that the following worked quite well in classes:

Dixit: Very popular particularly with visual learners. The language used is not really enough to warrant me using it too much.

What's it to you: Works quite well with some modified rules to get people talking about all kinds of subjects and personal preferences.
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Yohann
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I couldn't find anything about "What's it to you". Could you send me a link please?

But as for Dixit, the problem is that it engages imagination a bit too much for my trainees. I used to try to stimulate them in that area, but it was just a big fail each time (in France, engineers, technicians, civil servants and secretaries usually respond pretty badly that kind of activities. I'm not criticizing, just saying )
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Thomas Lang
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There are actually French who try to learn another language? Get outta here...

SCNR
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Yohann
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Yeah, they usually never know in what they're getting themselves into until it's too late... zombie
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Charles Waterman
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Hi again!

Delighted that you gave my ideas credence, and that you were ab;e to check them out so quickly!

I'd agree that "Say What?" can stifle spontaneity - it is designed to practice circumlocution and, frankly, sneakiness! *grin* However, if you play it with the rule that players who do not respond quickly (5 second rule?) to a question from another player MUST draw another card, it can be quite funny - especially as students KNOW what word the other player wants them to say, and they try to respond without using that word. *grin* You might try it just coming up with 20-30 word cards of your own invention without buying the game - if it works, then the cartoony graphics on the cards might be a plus or a turn-off - you know your students tastes.

I don't understand why the board in Word on the Street would be a "turn-off"? Is it too American looking? Do you think it looks too young? See if you can find a YouTube video of people playing this. With college students here in Japan, the game is quite popular! (It's semi-cooperative - you can have up to 4 people on each team, and if the other team is actively calling out distracting words it gets even more fun. If you don't allow the distraction it's a more friendly game, but the timer keeps the fun-tension high.

One caveat though about Chain Game - it really expects the players to be able to come up with phrasal verbs and phrases on their own - there is no help available. (Although remembering phrases other players have used in previous rounds is good reinforcement because they can be reused in future rounds if the right word comes up again.

Yeah, from your description of your students, Quao doesn't sound like a good fit due to it's (silly) competitiveness. It's really a game for people who like to laugh and don't take a game to seriously. Also, the immediate creativity with fill-in sentences in the game might not be a fun language activity for them, and inhibitions might be raised by some of the silly things people have to do in the game.

Here's a link to "What's It To Ya?" which also goes by the name
"Oh, Really!"
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/5772/oh-really

And here's a forums post about someone using it in the classroom:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/675494/for-use-in-the-cl...

I agree that Dixit calls for a lot of creativity and frankly very little language use - since a "story" can be just a single word or even a sound effect! Fun game, but as it stands, not that great for the classroom.

I hesitate to ask, but you HAVE heard of Apples to Apples, haven't you? If played in a classroom, after the current judge has placed all the cards on the table, I'd require each other player to verbally give a reason for one of the cards on the table fitting the adjective (not necessarily defending thei OWN card, but SOME card. Allows sneakiness...)

Chuck Waterman

Shadow Hexagram wrote:
Thanks a lot for these interesting pieces of advice.

I've just checked them and here's what I think:

1) Word on the Street = looks interesting but the board might be a bit of a turn-off.
2) The Chain Game = might just be what I need especially for upper-intermediate and advanced learners.
3) Say What? = This could be quite amusing for pre-intermediate, intermediate learners during our daily "compulsory" chit-chats, but I'm afraid it might kill off spontaneity a little.
4) Argue = this one looks great but I think you're right, I'd better just take the idea make my own topic cards.
5) Quao = might be the least suitable of the 5 as it looks like it involves too much "playing against one another". My classes are often made of people working together but at different positions in their hierarchy (technicians with their project manager or department director), and it might just create bits of tension at the end of the sessions that I won't have time to diffuse.

So, to sum things up, I think that The Chain Game and a tweaked Argue are the two games I'll retain for my future intensive training sessions.

Thanks again,

Yohann
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Tim Benjamin
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Good luck. I'm a 60 year old 'product' of America and I'm only about 50% proficient in English (the US version).
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Uffe Thorsen
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Though not a boardgame (nor is it a RPG), also consider the Parsely games: http://rpggeek.com/rpgseries/7621/parsely-games

It's a social variant of text-based adventure computer games, quite the rage.

Quote:

Parsely games are based on the old text adventure parsers from the 1980s. In this version, the computer is
replaced by a person and the software is replaced by a map and an outline of the adventure to be played.

--

> WELCOME TO... ACTION CASTLE!

Cottage

> You are standing in a small cottage. There is a fishing pole here.
Exits are: Out

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jamison creel
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I've taught a bit of ESL. I'm American and I work in Arab schools. I've had a pretty good bit of success with Apples to Apples. The game encourages discussions and it gives you a chance to talk about the meaning of the words as well as the connotation or feeling of the words. The only thing I would suggest is that you should be the judge all of the time.
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quelf elf
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What about the games that are free to print-and-play, like Werewolf, Eat Poop You Cat, and The Dictionary Game?
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Yohann
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@ montebanc: Actually, it's not that "Word on the Street" looks too American, but we usually have class in big meeting rooms and my trainees won't like having to focus on a tiny board. At the end of a 30-hour week of English trainings (and they usually go back to work after, as some of them work on very important projects), they just want to relax, not to play by the rules. shake
This is why I rapidly dropped the Taboo board as they just didn't care about it, and let's say that the Say Anything Board suffered the same fate!!
About Chain Game, I definitely think they'll love it, as parts of my classes are just about phrasal verbs and idioms. They love re-utilizing them in later conversations, just for the pleasure to show-off in front of me!!
And as for Apples to Apples, you've been two to advise me this game, jamisonjhs and you, so I'll definitely look into that one. Anyway, thanks a lot!!!

@ RaffertyA: I definitely understand. I'm a 35-year old product of France and I'm actually becoming less and less fluent in my own native language (or is it that my mother tongue isn't what it used to be?)robot

@ IvanHo: thanks for the idea, but it'd be too RPG-like to their liking. I can't expect them to use their imagination.

@ jamisonjhs: Yeah, it actually looks like I could use this game.It's exactly what I'm looking for in the area of sentence constructions, a bit like The Big Idea. Thanks!!

@ quelf elf: Thank a great bunch for your ideas! "Werewolf" looks like "The Werewolves of Miller's Hollow". I've played it a couple of times, as it's really famous among BG players here. But I'm afraid it won't work in my classes (too little spoken interaction).
However, "Eat Poop You Cat" looks quite amusing and might be used as some way to ease the class off from time to time, especially after big meeting or negotiation roleplaying games. And I'll definitely use Dictionary (or Balderdash) for its spelling / definition-giving qualities!!

So, at the moment the ideas I'll retain are:

The Big Idea
The Chain Game
Argue
Apples to Apples
Eat Poop You Cat
Dictionary (or Balderdash)
Oh, Really! (the "Whiteboard version")

Thanks a million everyone, you've been a great help
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Laurence Gillespie

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It depends a bit on how advanced their skills are. For less advanced levels, I'd suggest something like Mille Bornes since it's mostly numbers and there are certain basic patterns that come up again and again in the game, yet with close real-world analogues and opportunities for humour (i.e.running out of gas, getting a flat tire, crashing, speeding, being a driving ace). There's little reading involved (I've played intense games with a 3-year old) and no board.

Probe , if you can find it, is a hidden word-guessing game (one letter at a time) which was very popular with the children I knew, and only about 3 basic patterns to remember.

Hear Me Out would be fun for more advanced students. It plays fast (sometimes less than an hour), most turns involve everyone in one of 3 activities ranging from word association to making a little speech (to be graded by your fellow players).

A high-pressure cooperative game, such as Break the Safe or Pandemic might force more conversation out of your students, as there are intense time pressures in those games and a need to involve everyone if you're going to win/survive. Most of the games would involve repetition of about 3 basic patterns (i.e. go here and why, help me and why, etc.).

Hope this helps.



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Yohann
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Thanks for these interesting pieces of advice, Laurence. So, in my opinion:

1) Mille Bornes could have been quite an interesting idea, but it won't actually prompt my adult trainees to talk.

2) Probe looks a better idea if I replace the game board with the white board. I'll keep this one in mind!

3) Hear Me Out looks a bit crazy! Interesting and, like you said, maybe to be offered to more advanced students. I'll try to look into that one a bit further later.

4) As for Break the Safe and Pandemic, I don't think they'll do as they're too theme-oriented. I think it's safer to remain on party games.

In conclusion, I'll keep Probe and Hear Me Out in mind and I'll check the latter later a bit further.
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Matt
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I do my student teaching next fall, then I'll be a licensed K-12 TESOL teacher. I have thought about gaming in the classroom for my future ELLs, and The Big Idea is one that always comes to mind. Eat Poop You Cat looks like it'll be a lot of fun and I can see the value in it already.

What I'm wondering is if there are any good cooperative games out there that are appropriate for school age children that can be played in less than an hour and also require a good amount of communication and negotiation. Most of them seem to have longer play times. I figured this would be an effective way to lower the affective filter of the students and be a valuable exercise in fluency.
 
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Markus Hagenauer jr.
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I´d recommend Team Work Original.
 
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Derry Salewski
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Pass the Bomb
 
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Gérard Kraus
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Cruo wrote:
I do my student teaching next fall, then I'll be a licensed K-12 TESOL teacher. I have thought about gaming in the classroom for my future ELLs, and The Big Idea is one that always comes to mind. Eat Poop You Cat looks like it'll be a lot of fun and I can see the value in it already.


I've experienced The Big Idea at work. It is quite good. I've used it with 15-16 year olds as well as in our circle of friends, many of which are 3rd-4th language English speakers. In the latter case many have said that the game was still able to teach them some useful vocabulary.
The kids managed to conjure up some pretty good levels of motivation for that one and even the quiet ones found something to say.
 
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Charles Waterman
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Play Castle Panic, and reduce the number of monsters in the bag. (You can reduce the number of towers to defend if you want to equalize the challenge.)
 
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Thaadd Powell
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jamisonjhs wrote:
I've taught a bit of ESL. I'm American and I work in Arab schools. I've had a pretty good bit of success with Apples to Apples. The game encourages discussions and it gives you a chance to talk about the meaning of the words as well as the connotation or feeling of the words. The only thing I would suggest is that you should be the judge all of the time.


I played Apples to Apples over new years with 2 people who were ESL - one was fairly fluent, but still looked up or asked a few times, and the other person was in her first year in the States. It definitely was a learning experience for her, but she still seemed to have fun.
 
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R Moore
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Shadow Hexagram wrote:
Hello,

this is my 1st post in the BGG forum so I'll try to do things the right way.

Actually, I provide professional trainings in ESL to adults (between 25 and 60) and I'd like to get some new ideas for the occasional gaming activities I sometimes organize at the end of big training sessions, but still with bits of pedagogy regarding English structures and conversation.

So far, Taboo and Say Anything have been big hits with my trainees, especially the latter, but I think it's time to offer them something fresh and new. I thought about The Big Idea, and I still need to get my hands on the English version.

So, any ideas you'd like to share? goo



Wits and Wagers is a great group game, questions are asked in English on the cards which is perfect for ESL.
 
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Jeremiah Dwyer
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A "game" that the designer has indicated is often used to teach English is Rory's Story Cubes. Not actually a game per se, but a wonderful creativity/story-telling facilitator. The follow-up to the original cubes has recently come out in mass production, which is Rory's Story Cubes: Actions, and my understanding is that this was developed in large part at the request of those teaching English to adults, so that they could use the cubes to also learn the most frequently used verbs. The cubes are cheap, portable, and fun!
 
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