Games for Language lessons

These are short language games, with little or no preparation. To be used as a starter or as a reward at the end of a lesson.

General precaution: As most of the games are known with many variants, it’s always a good idea to check the rules before they get started.

A few tips to make the activities entertaining:

  • Speed
  • Speed
  • Speed
  • Rewards of some sort. Glory is better than candies, and much cheaper.
  • Only a few minutes in a row. If the result is not perfect, it’s better to play the game again a few days later than to prolong it until the students are bored. By the way, it’s also much more effective for memorization to space the repetitions a little bit than to try to memorize everything at once.

Continuer la lecture

How to make a lesson look like a game?

Or learn to loose and have fun!

Some teachers believe that they just have to put some pretty colorful coating on an exercise to make it fun and transform it into a game. They’re just wasting their time. Look at the African children. They play football on disgusting waste grounds, with balls made of scrap. Their playgrounds are muddy, full of garbage, often smelly. But the waste grounds have one major advantage: there is no adult. As modest as those pieces of land may be, they are the property of the children, at least for a while. They become magical realms, thanks to the power of imagination. What does this have to do with education? We must ask the question, as we do no longer believe that the sidewalk is a 1000 feet high cliff. We’ve lost the magic power to change a stick into a flamming sword. Therefore, we must find some serious excuse to justify our plays with the children.

Continuer la lecture

Is it a good idea to play at school?

When I was a high school student, I had teachers who tried to recover their authority with educational games. I didn’t like them. They were bad players as well as bad teachers. However, at the same time I learned a lot of things during the great games I played with the Boy Scouts. So, what was wrong with high school?

I doubt that they’re playing in order to increase their attention skill. They play. And it’s enough!

Continuer la lecture

What is success?

Success is relative.

You succeed when you reach your objectives, whatever those objectives are.

If your objective is to please your guest, making a good cake is a success. At school you can be successful in doing an interesting presentation or in writing a very smart essay. You’re always successful in doing something. You can’t be successful in general.

The objectives of the students do not necessarily match the objectives of the school or the objectives of the teacher.

Continuer la lecture

How to make every student work? (Language lessons)

One of the most important concerns of a teacher is to make sure that all of his students are actually working. In this regard, the language lessons are particularly at risk, because oral activities take a greater part in them.

When you do an exercise in written, all the students try to answer the questions simultaneously, obviously some of them with more seriousness than the others, but, still, all of them have to do at least something to avoid troubles when it comes to the correction. And it’s not difficult for the teacher to walk between the ranks and to look after the children. During an oral lesson, the attention of the teacher is usually taken by the lesson itself. It’s less easy to awake the lazy students.

Continuer la lecture

How to motivate the students?

This is one of the most common questions in pedagogy. Sometimes it reflects a lot of anxiety.

This question is similar to this one: how to be healthy? It’s quite obvious that there is no straight answer. There are lots of things to do in order to be healthy. You need a good hygiene. You need some good daily routines, like enough sleeping time or a well-balanced diet. You may need medications sometimes. If one of your organs fails dramatically, you’re dead. It doesn’t matter if you loose your brain, or your liver, or your heart, or your kidney. The result is the same. Your need all of them in a correct shape.

Continuer la lecture

Un critère de justice

En matière de justice, LA question fondamentale est: « Qui doit payer? » Il n’y en a pas d’autre.

La réponse spontanée: « Quelqu’un d’autre! »

La réponse socialiste: « Les riches! » Quitte à tuer (ce n’est pas toujours une métaphore) la poule aux oeufs d’or (c’est une métaphore).

La réponse du manifestant: « L’État! » Manque de chance, l’État c’est le contribuable, qui se trouve souvent être le manifestant lui-même.

La réponse libérale: « Celui qui réclame le service! » Réponse juste, sans doute, mais il y a des exceptions évidentes.

La réponse de l’enfant (et il n’a pas complètement tort): « Papa! » Ou « Maman! » Ça marche très bien aussi.

La réponse de l’écologiste (juste au demeurant, mais elle ne concerne que les dommages): « Celui qui casse! »

La réponse du vieillard: « Les jeunes! » Bien difficile de faire autrement.

La réponse du juge: « Le criminel! »

La réponse du Christ: « Moi! »

La logique du don

« C’est l’intention qui compte. »

Les proverbes sont souvent idiots. Du moins, ils tournent aisément à l’idiotie. Ils ne sont vrais que d’un certain point de vue, point de vue que l’on omet de préciser. C’est justement leur but: la formule percutante nous dispense de réfléchir.

Continuer la lecture

How to reward the best students while avoiding harmful labeling ?


Competition is often seen as a source of motivation. And… it’s true… to a certain extent. If you’re pretty lucky, organizing a competition between your students will dramatically increase the motivation of… the top ten.
You can also experiment a few drawbacks. A fierce competition tends to make nasty children and to prevent any cooperation between them, because the best ones will retain the keys of their successes. And obviously the worst students will not be encouraged to perform better. Nobody will ever strive to go from the 35th to the 32nd place.

Continuer la lecture