In November, I attended Dogus University’s 1st International ELT conference. At the conference, Philip Kerr mentioned the importance of translation from L2 to L1 as because he states that taking L1 from the classes means “a loss of identity” for the children. As my “Fundamentals”, I never use L1 in the classroom. However, I realized that I cannot check my kids' vocabulary input if they understand the meaning correctly or not. I noticed that some of my pupils “coded” some of the words incorrectly. That’s why I wanted to see if they learn the new words correctly or not. Flashcards sometimes cause misunderstandings. They show some irrelevant things too and the pupils get it wrongly. In that light, I generated a new vocabulary game for my kids. I call this as “Vocabgame”. How to play Vocabgame? It is quite easy. I divide the class into two. In crowded classes you may divide them into four or five. I divide the board into two, too. I call them as group A and group B according to their class shape. I give my pupils five minutes to revise their previous vocabulary ( what we learnt in the previous units) They start studying the words. When the time is finished, I start to ask questions to each pupil one by one. For instance, I start with group A. I ask the first pupil, what “community” means in L1, and s/he tries to give its L1 meaning. If s/he cannot give the correct answer they lose 1 point and this point is given to the rival group. If one of the pupils whispers the correct answer to their friend the rival group gets 20 points. This is the only “session” I use L1 in the classroom. I have never been in fave of using of L1 in my classes. I never let the kids write L1 meanings of the new vocabulary into their notebooks. I always make them draw pictures, because I believe the kids learn better with drawing. When they draw, they enjoy it and it helps them to remember the newly introduced word better. What’s more, they learn the words using their kinesthetic and visual intelligence.
I strongly recommend this game. My pupils always ask: “ Will we play vocabgame?” .
This game motivates them a lot. Hopefully, it will motivate your students too.
As a main course teacher, this game helps me in two ways:
1) I do revision without pushing them into stress.
2) I check their vocabulary input. I see objectively if their vocabulary input is sufficient and if they learnt the word correctly or not.