A Journey in TEFL


March 26, 2010 | 5 Comments

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Yesterday I explained how to reduce relative clauses into phrases to my 11 graders and they were all confused. Then I distributed the handouts I prepared for them to exercise and asked them to rewrite the sentences. While doing the exercises they were bored and they couldn’t get the idea.
Today I played a game with them and they were more confident in the end.
The game was one of my favourites, noughts and crosses, as I can adapt it to many grammar topic.

I wrote sentences on slips of papers and put them in an envelope. I divided my class into two teams and told them how to play the game. They had to choose a box from the grid all together as a team and one by one in turns, they had to take a slip of paper from the envelope and reduce the relative clause. I allowed them to look at their notes while waiting for their turn and in the end the victory was for all of us.
I gave them pos- it notes and asked them to write feedback. I also asked them to compare doing exercises and playing grammar games.
My students were happy with the game and they explained the pros and cons of playing games in classroom very well.
They said:


  1. We focused on the rules.
  2. We were more careful
  3. We tried to learn and remember the rules not to lose the game
  4. We saw our mistakes
  5. We wanted to win
  6. We remember better
  7. We practised the relative clauses
  8. We had fun.
  9. It was more enjoyable than writing on a handout
  10. We did something like competition and it makes you try harder


  1.  Losing a game is not good
  2.  I get so nervous when I play a game
  3. We could have practised more if I did them on handouts

In every classroom, you will find competitive students who will enjoy playing games and in every classroom you will have students who will become unhappy when s/he loses a game. But life is a game and we should learn how to play, how to survive, how to win and we should also learn how to overcome stress.

5 Comments so far

  1.    Barbara Sakamoto on March 26, 2010 11:05 am      Reply

    What an excellent comparison, Eva. I’ve often found that with activities or games, students focus on the task rather than the language. They get better practice when they’re using the language (to play a game) rather than focusing on the language (to complete a worksheet).

    It helps when I keep the games short so we can play multiple times (and have more chances to win) and if sometimes students work together as a team to beat the clock or complete a task (so it isn’t always competitive).

    But, when students get better language practice because their enjoying an activity, then everyone wins :-)

  2.    Eva Büyüksimkeşyan on March 26, 2010 11:15 am      Reply

    Thanks Barbara,
    It’s great to see that my students can also make great evaluations. I just wrote thier sentences here.

  3.    Sarah in Italy on March 26, 2010 11:58 am      Reply

    Wonderful idea.

    Simplicity, adaptability, materials-lite.

    Love it.

  4.    janetbianchini on March 31, 2010 4:19 am      Reply

    Hi Eva

    I really enjoyed reading this post. I love this version of noughts and crosses. I have never played it in this way before, with slips of paper. I will note this in my special notebook of “things to try out”! Many thanks.


  5.    Carrie on February 20, 2011 11:01 pm      Reply

    Great game idea, Eva! Your article on Wandering Educators brought me over and I’m looking forward to catching up on some of your previous posts!


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