2. Learning from games

All sorts of games can be used for learning and you need to think creatively about how to use them in the classroom (see Activity 2). It helps if you can work together with colleagues and friends, and also with your pupils, creating new ideas that can make the learning in your classroom more fun and effective.

In this part, you and your class extend your research investigations by asking older members of the community about games that they played when they were young.

Case Study 2: Games and chants on reading cards

The Project for Alternative Education in South Africa (PRAESA) promotes additive multilingualism, i.e. basic learning in the home language, with other languages added (without replacing the home language). PRAESA believes that all languages that children know should become part of the learning environment.

Mr Jacobs helped his Grade 3 pupils in Cape Town to make ‘reading’ cards, one for each pupil in the class. They drew a picture of themselves on one side of a piece of card. On the other side, they wrote songs, games, chants or rhymes, which they brought from home. Resource 3: Reading cards has some examples.

Each day, they have a reading period when the children read (and sing!) the cards. Sometimes, a better reader reads a card with a slower reader. Sometimes, a speaker of one language helps another pupil to read their language and make the sounds. Sometimes, they act out the rhymes or play the games. Mr Jacobs has noticed how much happier his class is and how they mix much better since doing this.

Activity 2: Games and songs from older community members

  • Ask your pupils to ask an older person (parent, grandparent, neighbour, etc.) to teach them a game, song or chant they used to enjoy. They need to know the rules or words and any resources it might need.
  • Next day, list the games and songs that pupils brought from home.
  • Group together pupils who learned the same game or song. Ask them to prepare to teach this game or song to the class.
  • Ask them to write out the song or chant or how to play the game on a card.
  • When the class has learned the game or song, discuss what can be learned from it. Make notes as you did before.
  • In future lessons, encourage pupils to read newspapers and magazines to find songs, games, riddles and jokes as a basis for writing their own.

1. Informal learning

3. Using reflection to improve teaching