The process for setting up a game or quiz is similar to other activities:
Teams: You need to allocate numbers or letters as described in CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT, making sure to check understanding.
Moving: Next, you need to get your students into the correct position for the game. This could mean in groups, standing in a line etc., depending on the game.
Team name: Once you have the students in their teams and moved them into position, you will want to assign team names. By getting each team to think of their own team name you are giving them an opportunity to ‘buy into’ the process and feel involved. People like to be part of a team; this helps to encourage competition, which helps with students changing their focus from actively thinking of the correct words and structures to thinking of using English in order to ‘win’.
Rules: Now that your students are in teams you will want to explain how the game is played. Like with every other aspect of what we do, using an example is a must whenever possible. You may even want to run through the game for 1 or 2 rounds to let students get a feel for what you want.
Scoring: If your students are playing a game, it is important they understand how to score points and, ultimately, win. It helps to keep the scores on the whiteboard.
Incentives: Why not spice up the game by giving out prizes for the winners, or giving ‘punishments’ for the losing team. For prizes, some teachers bring in small candies. An idea for a fun punishment is to get the losing team to speak about a subject for 2 minutes (you, the losing team or the winning team can choose the person to receive the punishment on behalf of their team, depending on what works best for the dynamics of the class). To add a little more fun, the winning team can pick the subject.
Drive the game: As the teacher you are responsible for keeping the momentum going and the motivation high. You can do this by commentating, teasing, getting involved, cheering. Just make sure it is seen as a competition.
Cliffhangers: To keep students motivated and engaged you need to make sure students can win, right to the end. If one team has a lead of 2 or more points, then you can simply make the next game a ‘bonus round’. The last point can be doubled, tripled or whatever you need to make it competitive, but make sure students can win!
Cultural awareness: Games are great for any age range, at almost any level. Don’t think adults will find games childish. Some of the most competitive students you will have will be adults. They will cheat and sulk as much as any teenager. Having said that, remember to take into consideration cultural differences. Some cultures have a great respect for the social standing of their elders, some cultures don’t like to ‘lose face’ in front of their peers and students from some cultures cheat like you wouldn’t imagine.