ESL Bingo!

Published: 17th October 2005
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One of our customers recently wrote to me with some

feedback on our bingo games. I thought her comments were so

typical and highlighted some misunderstandings and problems

with ESL bingo.



Her comments were --



It took a long time for my students to learn how the

game is played but once they did they had a lot of fun.



This is a very typical comment and illustrates a

ms-conception. If native speakers were to play the same

bingo game, it would be simple because we understand the

vocabulary and the rules. And if we had questions about the

rules, we could easily consult the rules and clarify our

concerns.



However, for a native speaker, the situation is very

different. They don't understand the vocabulary, not the

rules, where are in a foreign language. So, it is going to

take some time to set up, and probably the first game will

be difficult, but after that, our experience is students

can't get enough!



Here are some pointers and suggestions for playing bingo:



* Prepare before you start. Before class, review the

vocabulary and make a note of any difficult words. Before

actually playing the game, introduce the words. This can be

made into a game as well. Instead of simply telling students

the definitions, say something like, "If you are going to

win, you will need to know these words. Here are some clues

for winning." or "I'm going to tell you 3 clues, are you

listening?"



* The first game MAY be difficult, but preparation will

help. With proper preparation, you will see a huge change on

the second or third game. They are so eager to win they will

learn the rest of the vocabulary themselves.



* Students love to help each other, and love to be the

one that 'knows.' Use this to your advantage by allowing

students to work together for the first game. Depending on

the group, you may want to allow some helping and working

together on the second game as well. After that, students

should have a grasp of the game and some of the vocabulary

to play without sharing or helping.



We have found Bingo to be an excellent supplemental activity

for ESL students. If played at the end of the class,

students leave their english class feeling positive and look

forward to coming back.





George and Daisy Stocker have travelled the world teaching

ESL to children and adults. Their website, http://www.efl-esl.com

offers ESL curriculum, activities, an online forum for ESL teachers

and students, free newsletter for ESL teachers and more!

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