Hello everyone! I am Miss Krittika, an English Teacher at Lil’ but Mighty! For some of us, video games like Super Mario and Animal Crossing are a part of our everyday lives as we play these games in our spare time or as a form of relaxation. What if I tell you that you can actually improve your English skills through playing such games? Yes, you read that right! In this post, I will be sharing with you how we can uncover the countless opportunities video games can provide us with. Now, what can be more exhilarating than boosting your English skills while playing an exciting game? Buckle up, kids, because this is going to be one fun ride. On your mark, get set, go!
I know that video games are often frowned upon and are seen as a waste of time but there are several benefits of playing them, especially in terms of helping children like yourselves to improve your communication, reading and analytical skills. Let’s take a closer look at each of these benefits:
Video Games Can Improve Communication Skills:
Communication skills include being able to listen attentively and speak clearly. Such skills are not only important for you to have in order to ace the Listening Comprehension and Oral Communication papers but also when you need to go for interviews or present in front of an audience. Playing video games with other people can also be helpful in building social skills such as cooperating with others.
Games that promote this particular skill include popular multiplayer mission game, Minecraft and Overcooked. In these games, you are required to listen to your fellow teammates and respond accordingly in order to slay the dragon or to simply beat your opponent. Communication is key here and how specific you are with your instruction can determine your team’s success. Without communication, the task or mission at hand will not be completed. For instance, telling your teammate to “put out the fire” or to “dodge” are all important commands! As you talk about the game and discuss strategies with the other players, you are also learning about how to work in a team while improving your conversation skills.
Hence, by playing multiplayer games, you are honing your communication skills that can help you converse better in real life as well as give you the confidence required for the listening and speaking sections of your English paper. Useful, am I right? 😉
Tip for parents:
Join your child in the game! Demonstrate how to give clear instructions and ask your child to be specific and clear when working with you in a team! Don’t forget to give your child a high five when victory is achieved!
Video Games Can Improve Reading Skills:
In a video game, a player is often required to read instructions, follow the storyline and interpret clues so that he/she can solve missions or proceed to the next level. The best part of it is that this is all done in a fun and engaging way. As such, playing video games is a great way to encourage reluctant or slow readers to practice and improve their reading skills. Often, these games promote higher- level vocabulary skills, which these readers may otherwise miss out because they are not reading books or other printed materials.
Another important thing to note is that many children who have an interest in gaming are motivated to read materials related to gaming. These include books, blogs, reviews and even fan-fiction about the games that they are playing. For example, with the release of Pokemon GO in 2016, many children actively sought graphic novels, picture books and chapter books related to the game. Hence, playing video games can be a good way to get children to pick up the reading habit since they are more likely to be engaged reading something that they are interested in. We know how reading is important and useful in our lives. Likewise, reading different materials related to a specific topic can improve children’s vocabulary, stimulate their creativity and ultimately, enhance their writing.
Tips for parents:
1. Each time your child plays a game, ask him/her to share a new word or two which have been learnt from playing the game!
2. Which are your child’s favourite games or characters at this point? Help expand your child’s reading by looking for magazines, comics etc. that feature these games to entice your child to read more!
Video Games Can Improve Analytical Skills:
Simply put, analytical skills refer to the ability one has to collect, process information, problem-solve and even make decisions. It may come as a surprise to many but playing video games and acquiring analytical skills go hand in hand.
For example, in the game Professor Garfield: Reading Ring, you are given three comic panels that are arranged in the incorrect order. You are then given a text that you are meant to read quickly to obtain the relevant information needed to rearrange these panels into the correct sequence. The game teaches you how to summarise, analyse and register important facts in a highly entertaining manner.
How will playing such games help you in learning English? You can certainly put your analytical skills to good use when dealing with the comprehension section of the paper. Processing and collecting the right information, as well as paying attention to details, are all important analytical skills you need to apply to answer the questions for this portion accurately.
Tip for parents:
Hone your child’s higher order thinking skills by asking him/her to analyse or evaluate the game after playing! Ask them questions like: How was the game today? Which was your favourite moment? How can you do better the next time you play? Your child will love how involved you are and even share a tip or two with you!
Have I convinced you (or your parents! that playing video games can improve your English yet? If so, what are you waiting for? Kick-start your gaming adventure, have lots of fun and learn along the way. I have included a list of top 5 entertaining video games that can undoubtedly help you in boosting your English:
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
Do you have a favourite video game? Share with us in the comments section below. Until my next post, have fun and stay safe!