The Use of Memory and Guessing Games in Teaching Vocabulary to Young Learners

Abstract

This action research was carried out during the first and second semesters of my final year’s teaching practice in a boys’ primary school in Al Ain in the U.A.E. I observed that the English language teachers in the schools tend to rely heavily on drilling and questioning as strategies for teaching and learning vocabulary. It seemed that learning English is restricted to inside the classroom, and students have no other opportunities to use or be exposed to English.

From previous teaching practice placements, I found that learners had problems learning and retaining new vocabulary. In addition, games play a very important role in learning vocabulary, especially with young learners. Therefore, I decided to investigate whether the use of games – especially guessing and memory games – in the English classroom would assist the learning of vocabulary.

The standard textbook used in the class has some games in it, but these games are not explained clearly. It is important to mention also that, as I observed, most of the games in the book are not familiar to the students, nor it would seem, to the teacher. In my preliminary investigation I decided to investigate the role of games in learning and teaching vocabulary. From the results of this preliminary investigation, I continued to plan and use games and these activities were integrated into my lessons.

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