PLAY2LEARN & LEARN2PLAY: THE BENEFITS OF USING COMPUTER GAMES IN TEACHING ENGLISH TO YOUNG LEARNERS
Games play an integral part in the young learner curriculum, and children require a variety of activities in order to acquire a second or foreign language in the classroom. Students come to our classrooms with different sets of skills, determined by their upbringing and innate abilities, which naturally has a profound effect on their learning styles. Nevertheless, research has shown that specially games can bring language learning and a fun activity together into a single focal point, and computer games in the young learner curriculum can provide children with a personalized, original representation of the English language input from our lessons (Brualdi, 1996, Campbell et al., 1996, Laughlin, 1999). Motivated by the above literature, this presentation reports on a variety of real classroom-based activities that aimed at familiarizing young learners with English as a Foreign Language through educational computer games such as online board games including Bingo, Scrabble and Alphabet puzzles. Foreign Language Acquisition was further supported using specially designed flashcards, memory games, quizzes and interactive computer-based activities through an electronic picture dictionary. The presentation concludes by highlighting the benefits of computer games in young EFL learners’ development of language and skills along with their social and emotional ones.