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How Learning Through Classroom Games Keeps Students Engaged

TeachHUB.com

Keeping students engaged is a challenge teachers of all grades experience. The results of a 2016 Gallup survey of 1 million students aged 5th through 12th grades showed only about 50 percent of students are engaged in school. Even worse, one-fifth are actively disengaged, and 10 percent are both disengaged and discouraged.

What can teachers do to improve these statistics? A tactic you can take is to integrate games into your lesson plans. It mixes things up a bit and inserts some fun into your day.

How Games Increase Engagement

Teachers who use games as an instructional tool often find their students more likely to keep their focus. This is because they are less likely to become bored with learning when play is involved. Teachers can use games as a unique opportunity to increase engagement because:

  • Materials are presented in different ways -- Through games, teachers can reinforce concepts already introduced but present it in a fun and engaging way, further increasing their students' retention of the material.
  • Collaboration is usually needed -- Many students react positively when an opportunity to work with their peers is presented because they can interact within a less-formal atmosphere and not be required to sit in silence.
  • Competitiveness increases drive to learn -- A little friendly competition can boost a student's focal point because chances are, they'll want to do well amongst their peers.

In the business environment, many employers are using "Gamification" as a strategy to drive action and achieve results. Teachers can take a similar approach with games, offering ways to "Move up" and reach milestones. Be it traditional or digital games, given enough time, teachers should expect to see increased engagement, along with other positive results occurring in their classrooms.

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Increases the 'Fun' Factor in Learning

Reading from textbooks, memorizing vocabulary words or sitting your students for lectures isn't the most exciting way for them to spend time. While these approaches are necessary to teaching, it helps to add a fun factor to reinforce the material you present. Using games as an instructional tool allows students to practice what they've learned in an interesting way. Other bonuses include:

  • Increasing interaction with fellow students to teach the importance of cooperation.
  • Boosting levels of communication within the class, creating a cohesive and collaborative environment.
  • Encouraging teamwork so students learn how to rely on or help one another (depending on the game).

Integrating some fun or competitive games into the classroom can go a long way toward creating a heightened passion for learning.

Skills Learned Through Gaming

When you introduce a variety of games, be they board games, physical interactive games (i.e., charades), video games, or good old-fashioned card games, you have a terrific opportunity to not only augment lessons, but also teach other important proficiencies, too:

  • Help your students develop critical thinking skills.
  • Provide kids with an opportunity to boost levels of creativity.
  • Teach students about sportsmanship -- what it is and the importance of knowing how to exhibit good sportsmanship.

Aside from increasing engagement and reinforcing materials, students also form positive memories from learning, which creates further excitement for school lessons.

In the end, isn't that a good part of what it's all about? Sharing your love of learning and igniting passion for it in your students? Add games to your school day and see what a difference it can make.