Gamification in the classroom

gamification in the classroom

Using gamification in the classroom for managing young learners.

Gamification in the classroom is an excellent approach to classroom management. This is particularly true with young learners.

Adding a competitive element to a learning environment with young learners can add motivation, improve behavioural problems. It can also encourage extra language.

I divide my classes up into teams, each team can assign their own name (only sensible ones are accepted), and with some classes I assign a team captain. If you have a computer or are lucky enough to have an interactive whiteboard or a computer in your classroom, then using classdojo for classroom management could be a good option for you. Otherwise just use you whiteboard and keep a tally of the score as the class goes on.

I give points for correct answers, good behaviour, good language use. Basically any positive actions that deserves recognition. I don’t take points away, but I will give teams that are quiet or are behaving extra points.

Student benefits

  • It’s fun, particularly young learners but we all like to play. If you can learn and have fun that’s all the better.
  • Students find gamification of the classroom motivating. I have even had success with very unmotivated students being motivated by a bit of competition.
  • Students get a great sense of achievement in winning the class.
  • It gives students a great sense of responsibilty to their classmates. They don’t want to be the kid who lost it for their team.

Drawbacks in the classroom

  • It can cause resentment within a group if the students are lacking in maturity. It’s often a case of trial and error. It’s usually pretty clear if a class is responding well to gamefication of the classroom.
  • You have to be careful that the points don’t take over the learning process. Again, this is best judged by the teacher. Some students just get too excited!
  • Prizes! I use stickers and if you don’t remember to take them to the classroom, your students WILL be dissappointed.

Handy tips for teachers

  • Keep it light hearted!
  • I find it really important to make sure students know why they are getting points. It will reinforce the good work.
  • Don’t forget your prizes!

If you found this article about gamification in the classroom interesting you may also like reading about doing a celta in Vietnam.

Dan has been teaching English overseas for more than six years. He specialises in teaching young learners and has experience in teaching in the UK, South Korea and Thailand.