Practical play package

20th October 2000 at 01:00
THE LANGUAGE GAMES COMPENDIUM. By Duncan Gough. Hodder amp; Stoughton pound;34.99

We have probably all come across those dry-as-dust treatises on the value of games in language learning - we may even have written one ourselves during our PGCE year, and we have probably all at some stage fallen foul of the game which took an hour to prepare and two minutes to play, or the game which bored the children rigid and had them groaning to get back to "proper"work.

None of this here. This is the best collection of language games I have ever come across - practical, fun, down-to-earth, and genuinely teacher friendly.

The 65 different games are described succinctly (using English, so that they may be adapted to the foreign language of your choice). There are no fewer than six indexes so you can find things by topic, by grammar point, by pupils' ability, and so on. I particulary liked the tips to assist the smooth running of the games and the preservation of the teacher's sanity in the face of potential pitfalls.

The examples showing how a particular game develops when used with a specific topic or vocabulary area are also very helpful: the author is clearly an experienced practitioner familiar with the hurly-burly of the modern classroom. The games are easily adaptable to different topics and different levels, and there are useful hints to make sure they work effectively in mixed-ability situations too.

Some games require the teacher to collect and cut out pictures in advance, but attractive black and white visuals are provided which can be photocopied if there is no time to look further afield.

These ideas are not trivial add-ons but genuine contributions to language learning and could do a great deal to raise motivation.

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