Oxford`s teachhing methods of english language — страница 5

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said they often used games for vocabulary revision. Some claimed they were successful and usually more effective than other methods. To see if this is really true, I decided to use a crossword puzzle with a group of first year students. The crossword puzzle. After completing a unit about Van Gogh, students wanted to expand their vocabulary with words connected with art. The students compiled lists of words, which they had learnt. In order to revise the vocabulary, one of the groups had to work out the crossword puzzle. Students worked in pairs. One person in each pair was provided with part A of the crossword puzzle and the other with part B. The students' task was to fill in their part of the puzzle with the missing words known to their partner. To complete the activity,

learners had to ask each other for the explanations, definitions, or examples to arrive at the appropriate answers. Only after getting the answer right could they put it down in the suitable place of their part of the crossword. Having completed the puzzle, students were supposed to find out what word was formed from the letters found in the shaded squares. Students enjoyed the activity very much and did not resort to translation at any point. They used various strategies to successfully convey the meanings of the words in question-e.g., definitions, association techniques, and examples. When everyone was ready, the answers were checked and students were asked to give examples of definitions, explanations, etc., they had used to get the missing words. The other group performed a

similar task. Students were to define as follows: I. Define the following words: shade, icon, marker, fresco, perspective, hue, daub, sculptor, still life, watercolor, palette, background. II. Find the words these definitions describe: a public show of objects a variety of a colour a wooden frame to hold a picture while it is being painted a pale or a delicate shade of a colour a picture of a wide view of country scenery an instrument for painting made of sticks, stiff hair, nylon a painting, drawing, or a photograph of a real person a piece of work, especially art which is the best of its type or the best a person has made painting, music, sculpture, and others chiefly concerned with producing beautiful rather than useful things a line showing the shape (of something) a person

who is painted, drawn, photographed by an artist a picture made with a pen, pencil, etc. Analysis of results. The results show that the crossword puzzle, though seemingly more difficult since it required the knowledge of words and their definitions and not mere recognition and matching, was easier for 27.4% of the learners and granted them more points for this part of the test. For the majority of the students (nearly 60%) both activities proved equally easy and out of the group of thirteen, eleven students had the highest possible score. Summing up These numbers suggest that games are effective activities as a technique for vocabulary revision. Students also prefer games and puzzles to other activities. Games motivate and entertain students but also help them learn in a way

which aids the retention and retrieval of the material (This is what the learners stated themselves). However, the numbers also show that not everyone feels comfortable with games and puzzles and not everyone obtains better results. Although one cannot overgeneralise from one game, student feedback indicates that many students may benefit from games in revision of vocabulary. Conclusions Recently, using games has become a popular technique exercised by many educators in the classrooms and recommended by methodologists. Many sources, including the ones quoted in this work, list the advantages of the use of games in foreign language classrooms. Yet, nowhere have I found any empirical evidence for their usefulness in vocabulary presentation and consolidation. Though the main

objectives of the games were to acquaint students with new words or phrases and help them consolidate lexical items, they also helped develop the students' communicative competence. From the observations, I noticed that those groups of students who practised vocabulary activity with games felt more motivated and interested in what they were doing. However, the time they spent working on the words was usually slightly longer than when other techniques were used with different groups. This may suggest that more time devoted to activities leads to better results. The marks students received suggested that the fun and relaxed atmosphere accompanying the activities facilitated students' learning. But this is not the only possible explanation of such an outcome. The use of games during