During Esperanto learning one can talk about different types of games. The most useful are board games. It’s good if they are clear and with pretty pictures. During the lesson we can also create objects, text or artwork. Different games help to create a good atmosphere during the lessons. Games with added objects, like cards or wooden blocks can be more fun, because the requisite is interesting for exploring and the learners don’t notice that they are learning. On the other hand, well-known word games are good (for example hangman, tongue-twisters, charades etc.) These are about grammar and word games. They are not easy to create on the spot, so it’s worth making them in advance. We could, for example, pick wordless cards with clear pictures. A good example of this game is Doblo. Teachers have many opportunities to create new games with good work stock. Let’s not forget about role play and theatre plays. They are useful for getting people to talk. Improvisation and simulation shows different situations which can occur in real life.
Many teachers doubt that games can be a useful exercise. Many people think that games are just for children. Because of this, there are people who don’t want to play. People often don’t want to play because they don’t have time for silly things, and they don’t believe that games can be effective, so they get embarrassed. But, overall, games are useful during language instruction, but it’s not a bad idea to have a clear goal and easy rules. This is very important.
Another important question relates to choosing a time – when to play? Should you play the whole lesson? Does it contain suitable learning material? In fact, this depends on the group. If we were to teach a group of children, it would be a good idea to play more games. If we are teaching adults, it’s a better idea if games occur only from time to time. Games could be used as an ice breaker, as an exercise, revision or repetition. According to this knowledge, the teacher should choose the appropriate time to play.
Another important issue relates to the content – what to play? This depends on a few points. The group matters. As mentioned before, with children, we choose different games than for adults. Games for children must be easier of-course. Age, interest and ability of the participants are important. Also we should think about the time and conditions of the group. It could be that children grasp the main concept of the task faster than adults. The choice of game depends on the level or goal to be reached during the lesson or course.
During the game, it could be that participants feel many emotions. Perhaps someone cheats, someone wins, etc. Games to be used for language instruction should have as simple as possible rules.
Esperanto games can be found on the internet. Useful websites are edukado.net, boardgamegeek and Print & Play. For those who prefer more traditional material sources, the book ‘Intellectual amusements’ by Tatjana Auderskaja is recommended.
Games we can find can be directly applicable. We can also modify, recreate, or create new games. Immediately applicable are Esperanto word games which are independent language games. A good idea is to use foreign language games and adapt the language, for example in the game ‘Detectives.’ We can also recreate a game, for example to find a website for recreating the game ‘Doblo’ and replacing pictures.
While creating games ourselves we should consider a few rules; a new game has to have a simple goal and modest materials. Games should have easy rules that require only a short explanation from the teacher. In any case, a game that lasts too long isn’t effective.