School is often quite boring for students and teachers. So, if we can learn by playing games, why shouldn’t we? While ‘fun’ isn’t necessarily the best reason for introducing games or gamification elements into your teaching practice, its a pretty convincing one!
Play is an essential part of our learning, as indeed it is for all large mammals. We see it in the tiger cub fights and it is even seen between different animals in some instances. Play allows us to use and develop our skills in a low risk environment.
People can sometimes not want to hear negative feedback from a teacher, but they’re okay with it in the course of playing a game (think how many times you have to die before you defeat that end of level boss). Things learnt while playing can also stick in your memory longer because you’re doing something inherently interesting, rather than listening to a boring old person talking while being stuck to a desk.
It is easy to start out with using games in your teaching. Why not adapt an existing game like guess who (for historical figures) or Monopoly (swap the streets for important world cities)? Why not use some of the published games out there that teach directly – like Axis and Allies or Diplomacy? The rewards are huge – students that can problem solve, work in teams and struggle through adversity.