As this title suggests, there could be no more enjoyable way to learn German than through the fun-filled pastime that we all look upon with great fondness: playing a game.
While learning German or any language is a challenge, certain learning techniques can reduce the negativity and uncertainty that normally surround the initial phases of language acquisition, and work towards facilitating the process in the long run.
One of these proven, successful methods is interactive teaching, i.e. using games, competitions or other interactive activities to help information to be processed and retained much easier.
Games do not need to be childish, but all activities should have an element of fun to keep you engaged with the content.
Playing games is a popular teaching method in school, and it’s no surprise that it makes learning much more fun for all. Educational games, which are designed to teach a skill using psychological methods, are now mainstream in most curriculums.
Classroom games can emerge in many ways, but most notably in the form of class participation, recitation, demonstration and memorisation, either used in combination or on their own.
Games which rely on technology or other accessories include video and music games, as well as card or board games.
The latter two are less popular in the classroom, however, as they are designed for small groups of individuals and thus lose their effect on a classroom of 25+ pupils.
The aim of using games in the class environment is to make learning fun, and this game-based learning has proven learning outcomes. The gameplay engages student and keeps them gripped for the duration of the activity, meaning that they learn more than they probably would have otherwise.
So, without even realising that they are doing it, students can better understand key language attributes or historical events and expand on these concepts with vigour and vitality.
Some of the games that banish boredom in the class are high-energy activities like competitions and quizzes, while games that call for the utmost concentration are memory and logic games such as crosswords, completing the missing word, choosing the right tense, and other focus-inducing tasks.
Whether or not students perform better when participating in games within small groups or on their own is all dependent on a number of factors: the general behaviour of the classroom, the type of activity presented and the level they are working at are just some examples.
Ultimately, educational games are any activities that students see as a shift from a normal lesson and which succeed in lifting their spirits and their positivity towards learning.
Although some parents might disagree with the use of games in the classroom, particularly those parents of GCSE or A Level pupils, these dependents are more often than not misinformed about the benefits that educational games can bring to the classroom.
It is natural to be concerned with pupils staying on track and focused before exams, but a little bit of lighthearted fun will do more good than bad, especially if the students are feeling the pressure of the upcoming assessments.
Moreover, games are carefully planned and only used in appropriate circumstances – so pupils are very unlikely to play games during every single lesson of term!
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If entertaining and educational games are successful in the classroom, then why not, therefore, play games at home to make your language learning journey more exciting?
Teachers are normally presented with a range of teaching materials and guidance to make creating games much easier, but if you don’t know what you are doing then you might like to consult some people who do.
A range of educational websites and blogs have been set up by either native speakers, teachers or other language experts to help beginners to learn German online. Among these, you are certain to find some games to target your different senses, as these are clear-cut ways of learning that will no doubt be celebrated by most education-led websites.
The website German-Games.Net has been created for just that reason. A quality online app for German language learners, it offers a range of games designed to help you revise the content you just learned via their tutorials and tests, some of which are mix and match games whilst others are multiple choice spelling games.
The Goethe Institut, a renowned organisation helping beginners to learn German, also offers a range of interactive activities designed for German beginners.
Using your time effectively, like playing German games, can help you to advance your language skills. Photo via Visualhunt
For instance, the website features a simple but strategic game involving a princess whereby the player must experiment with role reversal to create their very own story with the figures.
The site also uses classic German fairytales with new perspectives to teach more of the basics to students. In addition, quizzes are presented to test language knowledge and other interactive games are introduced for learners of A2 up, one of which is an adventure task which requires the learner to solve a mystery whilst travelling through Germany.
With user-friendly, vibrant graphics that are pleasing to the eye, this website is a must for learners who want to inject a bit of fun into their German lessons!
Playing games, especially if you have a competitive streak, give you an incentive to learn and absorb key language features so that you can feel that sense of elation when you get an answer or puzzle right.
By engaging with German in this fun way, it will increase your likelihood of retaining the information you have learned, especially if the games are well-designed and thought out with colours and pictures that relate to the content.
Some amateur language enthusiasts are making the most of the technological advancements available to them, and it is slowly becoming apparent that this technique does work very well.
If you are a keen video game player, for instance, by playing German games you could find yourself easily picking up reading, writing and listening components without even realising it.
Not all German classes have to be given in the classroom. Learn how to learn German by reading German newspapers and authors.
Playing video games can help you to pick up language attributes without realising it. Photo credit: jDevaun.Photography via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-ND
Although this method is never going to teach you to excel in all areas of language, it is a really good way to grasp the basics. Some of those who have followed this approach prior to starting their language course at school found that they were considered to have a much more advanced level than their peers (who probably had no experience whatsoever of the language).
It is important to note, however, that constantly playing fast-paced shooting games isn’t going to do much for your language skills, as you are left with so little time to translate. You should ideally be focusing on strategic or role-playing games that give you time to pause and think.
Contrary to what you might think, playing single-player is preferable when first learning the language because it allows you to take the game at your own pace. However, as you improve, you might like to experiment with multi-player modes and take the opportunity to listen to and chat with other players in realtime.
As you may be aware, video games are no longer limited to Playstations and Nintendos. Most modern games combine video graphics with a connection to real life, some of which even allow you to bring your game’s surroundings into your own living room or bedroom with the use of Virtual Reality devices. This makes game playing action far more vivid and thus gets participants more involved and committed to learning.
Meanwhile, the value of board games in German shouldn’t be underestimated. Games like Monopoly played using German cards can encourage you to decipher the language in order to move forward with your game.
Plus, with more than one player involved, you can all put your heads together and take a stab at translating the content on the cards. They do say that two heads are better than one!
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