“Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.”- Chinese Proverb
I’m sure many of you have heard this proverb before, it has been an inspiration for involved teachers around the world. Teachers who want to move beyond just telling their students information but helping them interact with knowledge, understand it completely and, most importantly, enjoy the learning process. Sometimes, however, it can be difficult to really engage student learning and involve them in the concepts being taught.
One method of student involvement I continuously turn to is the use of classroom games. Rich games students are completely engaged in while learning and using new concepts to improve their knowledge. I’m convinced that there is a game to teach every concept, all the games may not exist yet but they soon will if I have my way! Games work because of people’s intrinsic need to compete or complete some kind of challenge, this is a concept I would like to explore in more detail. I do know that some students in my class will stare out the window during written work but will completely immerse themselves in a game that teaches the same concept. The urge in children, and adults, to partake in some kind of game is so strong that, even if there is no material reward, the motivation to be successful will push them forward.
A game can be developed with a learning concept in mind, the concept can be taught first and then a game developed in which the concept needs to be used. This could be as simple as students having numbered cards with the task of joining together with other students to equal a specific number. During the game they will need to think about addition and how to reach the target number, they will also be involved in important discussions with other students. This example highlights another important learning experience for teaching with games, which is teamwork and how to interact positively and productively with other students.