Game-Based Language Learning: Activities for ESL Classes with Limited Access to Technology

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Playing games is often believed to be an educationally unproductive activity in strictly traditional educational settings. The prevailing Indian educational system is no different. It puts a lot of onus on rote-learning which is clearly what Paulo Freire calls the 'banking concept of education' in which knowledge is merely transferred from one person to another. In an ESL class, such an approach reduces language learning to merely a process of reproduction and does not allow co-creation of knowledge. Driven by learner-centred pedagogy, we propose adopting game-based language learning for ensuring learner engagement and developing intrinsic motivation. The immense and complex role that learner engagement, autonomy, and motivation have to play in the overall learning process is adequately addressed in game-based learning. This paper presents an argument in favour of adopting game-based language learning in ESL classes. The paper describes the benefits of game-based language learning and three non-digital games that can be used and adapted in ESL classes with limited or restricted access to computers and other technical devices. When carefully blended with text-based instruction, game-based learning can be very useful in enriching ESL learning in mainstream classrooms.

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Trinity Christian College

Trinity Christian College is a four-year liberal arts college located in Palos Heights, Illinois, which is 20 miles southwest of Chicago. Trinity provides students with an excellent Christian higher education in the Reformed tradition. The college serves both traditional and adult learners through its programs. Bachelor of Science (Accountancy, Art Therapy, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Bioinformatics, Biology, Business, Computer Science, Entrepreneurial Management, Environmental Science, Finance, Human Resources Management, Marketing, Recreation and Sport Management, Speech Language Pathology)

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