We have all seen someone walk in and lead a game with excellence setting things up to run smoothly. The students are engaged, the room is electric, and the event begins on the right foot. We have also seen what happens when a game is lead poorly and students disengage; and sometimes disengage for the entire event. So what is it about games that change the whole environment or event? Here are 4 things that games can do and some questions to ask yourself about your culture of gaming.
Games can give extra time for late arrivers to get settled before the lesson. When latecomers arrive, have they missed the main thing? Is the environment welcoming? What is it about the start of your event that will make students want to be there?
Games can establish authority of the leader. When the game leader begins, will the students listen to the direction? Does the leader confidently describe the game with excitement or are they fumbling around? Is the game worth the time and focus of the students and what does this say about the rest of the lesson?
Games can instill the value of encouragement and involvement. Does your culture cheer for contestants? Is everyone involved in the activity through playing and/or cheering or are two kids playing while everyone else just observes?
Games can demonstrate the culture of the environment. During the game is everyone actively involved? Is it okay for a student to get out of their seat or are they expected to stay in one spot? Are you expected to listen to the game leader or are people talking over him? How does the culture created through games impact the most important things you are doing with your students?