‘Game-Based Language Learning: Activities for ESL Classes with Limited Access to Technology’ by Sadeqa Ghazal & Smriti Singh


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 re-production 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.

Keywords: ESL learning, game-based learning, learner-centred pedagogy, non-digital games, motivation.

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