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Lạc Hồng, 14/04/2008 09:34:07 AM

Do games help students learn vocabulary effectively? (DUONG NGOC CHAU 03AV3)

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
š¯¯¯›
 
         Every book has a story, and this one involves lots of helpful people. I never would have embarked on this research without the professional guidance of my teachers. Consequently, I would like to send my profound and special thanks to Ms. Linh, my research conductor, for her enthusiastic and careful guides, comments and her unfailing patience and encouragement.
         Besides, I would like to show my respectful and truly thanks to Mrs. Nguyen Thi Kim Chung, the dean of the faculty of English Department; to Ms. Thanh Loan, the chief of the office of English Department; and to other chief clerks, who created good conditions and gave me an opportunity to do my research.
         Also, I would highly like to appreciate my internet-friends for providing me with valuable and precious sources and experience. Special thanks to students who eagerly joined in my vocabulary games and responded to my questionnaires.
         Last but not least, I’m truly grateful to my family, my fiance and my friends who are always beside me for their special and spiritual help during the time I was doing my research.
         I am indebted to you all, who gave me energy, encouragement and inspiration for finishing my research. Once thanks for all.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
TABLE OF CONTENTS
—]–
Acknowledgement...................................................................................... Page 1
Table of contents................................................................................................ 2
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION........................................................................... 4
I.             Abstract........................................................................................................................... 4
II.         Justification..................................................................................................................... 6
III.      Purposes of the study.................................................................................................... 6
IV.       Sources of data............................................................................................................... 7
V.           Methods of investigation............................................................................................... 7
VI.       Needs of the study......................................................................................................... 8
VII.    Procedures of the research........................................................................................... 9
1)     Interview, questionnaire and observation........................................................... 9
2)     Collecting and analyzing data................................................................................. 9
CHAPTER 2: WHY SHOULD LANGUAGE LEARNERS LEARN VOCABULARY?         
I.             Effective communication and fluency in language skills......................................... 11
II.         A tool of thought as well as a key to any languages................................................ 13
CHAPTER 3:  DO GAMES HELP STUDENTS LEARN VOCABULARY EFFECTIVELY?
I.             Approaching to students’ problems ......................................................................... 16
II.         What are educational games & some kinds of games
for implementing.......................................................................................................... 17
1.      What are educational games................................................................................. 17
2.      Some kinds of games for implementing.............................................................. 18
 
III.      Findings........................................................................................................................ 20
1.      Creating a relaxed and interesting atmosphere................................................ 20
2.      Being more interesting than some other methods............................................ 22
3.      Stimulating motivation and competition............................................................ 24
4.      Creating more chances for shy students to express
      their opinions in English & to learn new words from
      their classmates..................................................................................................... 25
5.      Offering a better and faster remembrance........................................................ 25
6.      Giving students an unconsciousness of learning process................................. 26
IV.       Students’ attitudes & reasons for using games........................................................ 27
1.      Students’ attitudes................................................................................................ 28
2.      Reasons for using games ...................................................................................... 28
V.           The limitations of using games.................................................................................. 30
CHAPTER 4: SOME NOTICEABLE THINGS OF USING GAMES...................... 32
I.             How to choose games.................................................................................................. 32
II.         When to use games...................................................................................................... 35
CHAPTER 5: SUMMARY, RECOMMENDATION, & CONCLUSION................... 37
I.             Summary...................................................................................................................... 37
II.         Recommendation......................................................................................................... 38
III.      Conclusion..................................................................................................................... 39
REFERENCES................................................................................................... 40
 
CHAPTER 1:
                                     INTRODUCTION
I>             ABSTRACT
                  In the initial stages of learning a language, vocabulary plays a primary role in acquisition and communication. Vocabulary is a core component of language proficiency and provides much of the basic for how well learners speak, listen, read and write. Vocabulary acquisition is increasingly viewed as crucial to language acquisition. Yet, learning vocabulary is often perceived as a tedious and laborious process. Therefore, many methods helping language learners to improve and learn vocabulary have been given such as listening to foreign music, watching foreign cartoons or films with subtitles, reading books, newspapers, and playing games. Using games for learning and teaching vocabulary has been applied in many countries in the world; however, not many Vietnamese language teachers as well as learners employ the effectiveness of the kind of methodology for vocabulary teaching and learning.
                  In reality, in Viet Nam vocabulary has not been considered as a major subject which should be taught separately and officially instead of teaching together with lessons of listening, speaking, reading and writing. Besides, vocabulary lessons were not paid enough attention in order to help students learn new words more interestedly and effectively. As a result, though Vietnamese students realize the importance of vocabulary, most of them have formed a habit of only learning new words found in their text books or through teacher’s giving or explanation. Moreover, most Vietnamese students normally learn vocabulary by such methods as listing new words on a notebook and learning them by heart, writing new words repeatedly down on papers, reading new words out loud several times, and so forth. These above seem not to be very effective and interesting ways for acquisition.
                  Deriving from Vietnamese students’ real state, and there are not many researches on the better and interesting ways for learning vocabulary in Dong Nai, I put my attempt on getting to know well about the usefulness of games in studying new words. In this research, I would like to expose a little bit about the reasons why language learners should learn vocabulary. Besides, I would like to examine some games and then compare them with the other methods which are mostly used by Vietnamese students in order to know what effectiveness games can bring to students for acquisition. Furthermore, I would like to determine the interesting and relaxed atmosphere of games which help students learn as much as possible during their school time. From my study, I believe games are not only fun but help students learn without a conscious analysis or understanding of the learning process while they acquire communicative competence as foreign language users.          
II>          JUSTIFICATION
                  While studying at Lac Hong University, my classmates and I were partly aware of the importance of vocabulary which is a bridge connecting four skills of English together. Thus, we did our best to take any new words given by our teachers or found in our textbooks and then learnt them by heart. However, we forgot almost all of these words just several days after that. And this really discouraged us. In addition, many students told me that they felt bored and sleepy when acquiring new words. Forgetting new words which have just been studied and getting bored in learning new words seem to be a common denominator of students as well as language learners. Accordingly, these above reasons led me to embarking on finding whether the effectiveness of games works in helping Vietnamese students to learn vocabulary more interestedly and effectively.
III>       PURPOSES OF THE STUDY
                  To begin with, I would like to know how Vietnamese students think about the role of vocabulary and to reaffirm the importance of vocabulary in learning English. Next, I would like to make clear the answer to the question that “Do games help students learn vocabulary effectively in classroom? Although, games have been applying successfully for educational purposes in many other countries and using games is not a new method, they have not been using in Dong Nai province in particular and in Viet Nam in general. As a result, I do the research to identify whether Vietnamese students feel interested in learning vocabulary through games than such methods as writing new words down over and over again on the papers , taking a look at new words, and reading them out loud several times, etc.  Also, I want to get rid of the old prejudice that games just can be used for fun, or time-filling, not for earnest and educational purposes such as teaching and learning languages.   
IV>        SOURCES OF DATA
                  Using games for teaching and learning vocabulary has been applied and there are many English books as well as articles on the topic in foreign countries. Nevertheless, in Viet Nam there are not so many books or researches on games. Because of the reasons, my research is essentially based on useful information on the internet. Besides, references and helpful instructions given by my experienced and respectful teachers are also precious materials for my research.       
V>           METHODS OF INVESTIGATION
                  In order to carry out my research, I firstly asked for my supervisor’s ideas and experience. Next, I prepared some vocabulary games and 50 questionnaires encompassing 10 questions. I started instructing and got 50 Lac Hong students of class 04av2 and 04av3 to involve in the games, and I carefully observed the whole class during the time they were playing games as a new vocabulary learning technique. After that, I delivered questionnaire to those students who had just participated in the vocabulary games. Also, I interviewed some among 50 students responding to my questionnaire some questions which helped me to know more about their difficulties in learning vocabulary and their thought of games as well.
VI>        NEEDS OF THE STUDY
                  I did this research with high desire that using games for teaching and learning vocabulary will be wildly used in second language program in Viet Nam some latest days. Simultaneously, Vietnamese students can either find interest or entertainment in acquiring new words instead of boredom thanks to the useful games. There are some suggesting games collected and performed in different levels as well as varied topics, so that it can be a useful handbook for teachers’ teaching in helping students to acquaint with games and for students who want to upgrade vocabulary through this interesting and relaxed method.
VII>     PROCEDURE OF THE RESEARCH
1.          Interview, questionnaire and observation
         I set up a questionnaire comprising 10 questions. Next, I made a game plan for using and instructing it to students. I either conducted or sent 50 questionnaires to students at Lac Hong University. Besides questionnaire, I interviewed and observed students during the game plays.
2.          Collecting and analyzing data
                        After collecting and analyzing data, I found students interested and informative in their responses. The following is the student’s answers to my questionnaires;

1> Vocabulary which is a bridge connecting listening, speaking, reading and writing skills together plays a very important role in learning English.
a) Disagree(0/50)= 0%
b) Not sure(0/50)= 0%  
c) Agree(50/50)= 100%
2> In your opinion, which of the following factors is the most important one that helps you communicate clearly and effectively?
a) Grammar(4/50)= 18%
b) Vocabulary (37/50)= 74%
c) Pronunciation (9/50)= 8%
3> How do you feel when taking part in these word games?
a) Relaxed and interested (40/50)= 80%
b) Stressful (0/50)= 0%
c) Bored (0/50)= 0%
d) Acquiring many new words from
these games(10/50)= 20%
4> Do you think that through games you can learn vocabulary more interestedly than you did through other methods such as learning by heart, reading new words out loud many times, writing them down, and so forth?
 
 
a) Yes (49/50)= 96%
b)  No (2/50)= 4%
 
5> Did you want and try to be a winner during the game play?
a) Yes (47/50)= 94%
b) No (3/50)= 6%
6> Do you think that the games are highly motivating and entertaining and they can give timid students more chances to express their opinions and feelings in English?
 
a) Yes (45/50)= 90%
b) No (5/50)= 10%
7> Do you remember new words faster and better due to the relaxed atmosphere created by playing games?
a) Yes ( 43/50)= 86%
b) No (7/50)= 14%
8> Did you learn new words from your classmates and partners who joined in these games?
a) yes (39/50)= 78%
b) No (11/50)= 22 %
9> Are you conscious that you are learning while playing these games?
a) Yes, completely (6/50)= 12%
b) Yes, but a little bit (37/50)= 74%
c) No, not at all (7/50)= 14%
10> Personally, games should be applied for vocabulary teaching and learning particularly in Lac Hong and generally in Dong Nai language centers.
a) Strongly disagree (0/50)= 0%
b) Agree (44/50)= 88%
c) Not sure (4/50)= 8%
d) Disagree (0/50)= 0%
e) Strongly agree (2/50)= 4%

 
CHAPTER 2:
WHY SHOULD LANGUAGE LEARNERS LEARN VOCABULARY?
                  In the past, vocabulary teaching and learning were often given little priority in second language programs, but recently there has been a renewed interest in the nature of vocabulary and its role in learning and teaching. There is no doubt that vocabulary plays a very important role in learning languages.  There has been much advice given by methodologists that language learners should be highly aware of the importance of vocabulary and must have a high-frequent plan for studying new words as soon as and much as possible.
I>             EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION AND FLUENCY IN LANGUAGE SKILLS
                  Vocabulary is the most essential element of communication. It is obvious that the more words we know, the more we can say and understand the others. According to Cristopher Fowers (2000), a large vocabulary can help language learners communicate clearly and effectively, and the positive repercussions are endless such as writing understandable emails and letters, communicating their thoughts in business meetings, writing better research papers, giving memorable speeches that make long–lasting impressions and more.
Similarly, 74% of Lac Hong students concurred that vocabulary is an important factor because it is like bricks to build a solid house of language which is necessary for clear and efficient communication in any situation of conversing. Words are our tools to communicate with other, as well as explore and analyze world around us. Therefore, “it stands to reason that language learners with a limited vocabulary will be handicapped in their educational progress”. (Agnieszka Uberman 1990:20)
Language learners who wish to own an ability of fluency in English skills must have a large and adequate vocabulary. Jack C. Richard and Willy A. Renandya (2002:255) assert:
Without an extensive vocabulary and strategies for acquiring new vocabulary, learners often achieve less than their potential and may be discouraged from making use of language learning opportunities around them such as listening to the radio, listening to the native speakers, using language in different contexts, reading or watching television.
Furthermore, through the questionnaires gathered from 50 students, I analyzed that they all agreed vocabulary which is a bridge connecting speaking, listening, reading and writing skills together plays a very important role in learning English. They made clear, “When we want to persuade someone, we must have as much as new words to use it flexibly and meaningfully. This enhances the value, convincingness and power of words uttered by us. It can be denied that the more words we possess, the more persuasive our speech are”.
II>          A TOOL OF THOUGHT AS WELL AS A KEY TO ANY LANGUAGES
When talking or writing to the others, we have to use words to express what we want to. Sometimes, it is easy to talk to the others about our thoughts in mother tongue but in other languages, especially in English is not easy at all. The problem is that we neither have enough words to express nor put them into appropriate order. Johnson O’Connor claims:
         Why do large vocabularies characterize executives and possibly outstanding men and women in other fields? The final answer seems to be that words are the instruments by means of which men and women grasp the thoughts of others and with which they do much of their own thinking. They are the "tools of thought." <http://www.members.aol.com/jocrf19/steps.html>
To share the same point of view, “the question is,” said Alice (2000:109), “whether you can make words mean so many different things”. (Teaching and learning in the language classroom – Tricia Hedge). In learning English, students are required to learn four basic skills that are speaking, listening, reading and writing. In order do assignments given by teachers, to make progress as well as to master four English skills, students must have a large vocabulary which language learners can not run away from neglecting or studying it. However, in reality vocabulary is neglected and given less attention than grammar in learning and teaching. From questionnaire, I found 18% students considered grammar is an essential factor for clear and effective communication. They just paid much attention to grammar but failed to care of vocabulary learning. Conversely, Paul Davie with Eric Pearse (2002:59) holds:
In communication, vocabulary is often more important than grammar. It is frustrating for intermediate learners when they discover they can not communicate effectively because they do not know many of the words they need. (Success in English Teaching, 2000:59).
Paul Davie with Eric Pearse continued saying:
 Unfortunately, vocabulary is neglected in some English language courses. This is a pity because working with words can be enjoyable and satisfying for learners. This brings me to the subject of vocabulary learning, which to me always seems the key to any language. I am quite happy to pronounce badly and make grammatical mistakes but there is no escape from learning words. (ibid: 71)
 
Actually, vocabulary is as important as grammar because they are both helpful tools for language learners to speak and converse fluently and effectively. Nevertheless, the neglect of vocabulary is also surprising in views of the fact that errors of vocabulary are potentially more misleading than those of grammar. When conversing, if we do not use the correct form of grammar, the other can still understand us. But if we do not use the right new words, the other may misunderstand us.
It is clear that learning how to build a better vocabulary can be a pleasurable and profitable investment of both our time and effort. If we concentrate on studying vocabulary regularly, it can bring about a rapid improvement in our vocabulary skills, which in turn can increase our ability to communicate by writing, conversing, or making speeches and so forth. Acquiring a large vocabulary can benefit us in school, at work, and almost anywhere. It will enable us to understand the others' ideas better and to have the satisfaction or getting our thoughts and ideas across more effectively. While there are not any magic shortcuts to learning words, the larger our vocabulary becomes, the easier it will be to connect a new word with words we already know, and thus remember its meaning. In summary, learning vocabulary is the very important thing that English students should focus on in order to achieve success in learning and in the future work in field of English.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
CHAPTER 3:
DO GAMES HELP STUDENTS TO LEARN VOCABULARY EFFECTIVELY?
I>             APPROACHING TO STUDENTS’ PROBLEMS
                  For the purpose of studying about the effectiveness that games may bring to student, I firstly asked some students at Lac Hong University in order to know more about their ways and problems in learning vocabulary. I found even though Vietnamese students realize the importance of vocabulary when learning English, most of them learn vocabulary passively.
                  When being asked about the ways to acquire English new words, 14 among 20 Lac Hong students, class 04AV2 replied that they often look new words up in the dictionary by themselves, write new words down in their notebooks and then try to learn them by heart. However, they may have a risk not to actually learn what the words mean because of the tiredness and boredom after looking up. 4 students said that they just take a look and read new words silently to themselves. Meanwhile, the rest told me that they write new words down and read out loud several times, or just take a look on them sometimes.
                  When being asked about the problems that students often have in vocabulary learning, 7 among 20 these students told me that they do not learn vocabulary very often because of boredom. 9 students confessed that even though they set a plan and did their best to learn averagely 10 new words per day, they could neither remember nor use those ones just several days after that. Even worse, though they have already learnt these new words, but they are easy to forget or unable to use these ones when conversing. The others confided that whenever starting learning vocabulary, they felt sleepy. They asked me some questions, for instance, “How can I remember and retain new words?”, “Would you show me the more interesting ways for acquiring vocabulary?” and so forth.    
II>          WHAT ARE EDUCATIONAL GAMES AND SOME KINDS OF GAMES FOR IMPLEMENTING
1>        What are educational language games?
Educational language games are not activities mainly aimed to break the ice between students or to kill time. Byrne (1995) gave the definition to games as a form of play governed by rules. They should be enjoyed and fun. They are not just a diversion, a break from routine activities, but a way of getting the learner to use the language in the course of the game. Similarly, Jill Hadfield (1990) defined games as "an activity with rules, a goal and an element of fun." Therefore, games comprise many factors: rules, competition, relaxation, and learning, in particular.  The main focus of using game in class is not only to help students to learn more interestedly and effectively but also to have fun. However, to use games in classrooms, it is equally important that before playing the rules of the games are clearly explained and well understood by the students. There should be only a few, well-explained rules. Demonstrations also can be very helpful because it can help students understand the game and help them follow the rules. Otherwise, they will misunderstand the purpose of the game and they may not get the benefits they should from the games. There have been different kinds of games such as activity games, crossword puzzle, word search puzzle, picture match game, word scramble. These kinds of games are designed in different level as well as topics, so that students with different level can enjoy and gain the best results from them.
2>        Some kind of games for implementing
v           Activity  games
Activity games are the kind of games designed with the purpose of making students flexible and active. Furthermore, they give students more chances to practice grammar, syllable, spelling, punctuation dynamically. They are pretty easy to set up so that explanation of the rules and objectives can be extremely simplified. This can be adapted in many different ways due to different levels: simple, medium and complicated. In addition, these games could be used as a synonym/antonym review or sentence construction drill. In order for the student to get good answer they must reply the question correctly, create a good sentence, or match definition with vocabulary. Syllable, spelling and punctuation games can help students to spell in a very funny way.
v           Vocabulary or picture match games
The kind of games is also divided into three levels, from easy to difficult. This is as similar as activity games which give students a chance to be dynamic. They not only bring fun to students but also provide them with particular categories of new words. This game aims to provide students with useful idioms. For instance, to prepare the game about idioms, I cut two equal-sized pieces of cardboard paper into rectangles. Then I wrote selected idioms onto the rectangles in the puzzle-pieces board and their definitions on the blackboard. On the reverse side of the puzzle-pieces board, I glued colorful photographs of landscapes or any kind of pictures and then cut the puzzle-pieces board into individual pieces, each with an idiom on it. The important thing was the distribution of the idioms and their definitions on the boards. The definitions were placed in the same horizontal row opposite to the idioms so that when put together face to face each idiom faced its definition.
                  I divided students into four groups of 5 students. Then I gave each group the pieces of cardboard paper which were written idioms on and cut into pieces. Students must arrange the pieces together. When students have used up all the pieces, turn them over. If they form a picture of a landscape, the choices are correct. If not, rearrange the picture and check the idiom-definition correspondences and match the idioms with their definitions on the blackboard.
          Students also have to find the appropriate matches in the shortest time possible to beat other participating groups. The element of competition among the groups made them concentrate and think intensively.
v           Crosswords, puzzles, or quiz.
As Vera Mello (2001:43) explain, crossword puzzles give students a chance to sharpen their mind. In order to solve the crosswords, they must try to understand the terms or sentences used in the crosswords. In other words, they must think, guess and decide as much and as fast as they can in a limited time. Increasingly, their mind will be sharpened considerably. This kind is also designed in different structural forms of grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, etc. and thanks to the advance of internet era, those who care of the game can search it easily on the internet which is available at: http://iteslj.org/games/ or http://google.com.vn
 
III>       FINDING
After analyzing data, I found that there are great effectiveness that games brings to English students as an interesting method for vocabulary acquiring. Here are the results gathered from my questionnaire and observation:
1)          Creating a relaxed and interesting atmosphere
                  From my questionnaire and observation, I noticed that most of Lac Hong students who participated in the games were very eager, willing and excited in them.80% of students felt relaxed and interested in games. 20% of students believed that they could learn many new words from these games. As Andrew Wright, David Betteridge and Michael Buckby (1984) point out:
                  Language learning is hard work ... Effort is required at every moment and must be maintained over a long period of time. Games help and encourage many learners to sustain their interest and work.                    
To share the same point of view, Uberman (1998) holds:
Games offer students a fun-filled and relaxing learning atmosphere. After learning and practicing new vocabulary, students have the opportunity to use language in a non-stressful way.
Furthermore, 96% of students agreed that through games they can learn vocabulary more interestedly than they did through other methods such as learning by heart, reading new words out loud many times, and writing new words down on the paper again and again, and so forth. A student of class 04av2 confided that to acquire new words she always writes repeatedly again and again the English words. For example, she may write like this “reindeer: tuøng loäc; reindeer: tuøng loäc, etc” in many pages in order to memorize the word “Reindeer”. She realizes that this method is boring and turns out really ineffectiveness, because she only learns the word superficially and does not understand in depth the meaning of the words, and because it takes her much time on writing over and over again. Another student of the same class told me that she usually reads English text books as a method for enhancing vocabulary. However, there are so much new words that she could not remember, and that she must look them up in the dictionary. This is really boring because it takes her much time and occasionally hinders her from continuing reading or even more she could not learn those new words due to the tiredness of looking up these words.
2)          Stimulating motivation and competition
Healthy competition that forms an elementary part of the English games encourages player’s discovery, examination and a voluntary involvement of the students in the learning process. Besides, it leads to a better bonding between the teachers and the students. Most importantly, these games usher in the real world context into the classroom and thus increase the students’ capacity to speak English in a practical and flexible manner. 94% of students expressed during game play they did their best to be a winner. Throughout the competition, I observed that students were more engaged in and committed to using English than they would be in the classroom. They were attentive to instructions, which they are not usually in regular class. In each of the games, students found their own ways to express themselves. Participants tried to retrieve all their knowledge of English to win the game. Avedon (1971:28, 29) believes:
                  The main reason why games are considered effective learning aids is that they spur motivation and students get very absorbed in the competitive aspects of the games; moreover, they try harder at games than in other courses. Naturally when playing games, students are trying to win or to beat other teams for themselves or on the behalf of their team. They are so competitive while playing because they want to have a turn to play, to score points and to win. In the class, students will definitely participate in the activities. Therefore; it is possible for a teacher to introduce students to new ideas, grammar, knowledge and so on. As in the dictation game, students are so competitive that they want to finish first and win. It can be clearly seen that games can capture students' attention and participation. They can motivate students to want to learn more. Moreover, they can transform a boring class into a challenging one.
The experience creating a competition for Lac Hong students also confirmed that games stimulate communicative skills. Competitors revealed that they felt less afraid of using their English during game play. I also observed that they were more willing to ask questions and think creatively about how to use English to achieve the goal. The competition gave students a natural opportunity to work together and communicate in English with each other. In any process of learning, interest plays a very essential role. Lacking of it, language learners will not sustain their concentration which is necessary for them to focus on their lesson or learning. Thanks to the motivation and competition created by games, students can acquire their lessons better and more interestedly than other ways. The main reason why games are considered effective learning aids is that they spur motivation and students get very absorbed in the competitive aspects of the games; moreover, students try harder at games than in other courses (Avedon, 1971). Naturally when playing games, students are trying to win or to beat other teams for themselves or on the behalf of their team. They are so competitive while playing because they want to have a turn to play, to score points and to win. In the class, students will definitely participate in the activities. Therefore, it is possible for a teacher to introduce students to new ideas, grammar, and knowledge and so on. As in the game plays, students are so competitive that they want to finish first and win. It can be clearly seen that games can capture students' attention and participation. They can motivate students to want to learn more. Moreover, they can transform a boring class into a challenging one.
3)                      Creating more chances for shy students to express their opinions in English and to learn new words from their classmates as well.
         86% of students thought that games can give shy and timid students more chances to express their opinions and feelings in English.
         As Andrew Wright, David Betteridge and Michael Buckby (1984) hold:
Games also help the teacher to create contexts in which the language is useful and meaningful. The learners want to take part and in order to do so must understand what others are saying or have written, and they must speak or write in order to express their own point of view or give information. Thanks to games, shy language learnerswill have more chances to speak and show their feeling and opinions in English as much as they can.
         78% of students said that they could learn new words from their classmates and partners who joined in games. To a certain extent, each person has his/her own field or range of vocabulary, but nobody can know all the new words. Le Thi Ngoc Giau, a member of class 04av2 said that some new words she knew but her friends did not know, and vice versa. Through games she could learn many new words from her classmates. And either did her classmates.
4)          Offering better and faster remembrance
         90% of students confided that they could remember new words faster and better due to the relaxed atmosphere created by playing these games.
         According to Andrew Wright, David Betteridge and Michael Buckby (1984) explain:
                  The need for meaningfulness in language learning has been accepted for some years. A useful interpretation of 'meaningfulness' is that the learners respond to the content in a definite way. If they are amused, angered, intrigued or surprised the content is clearly meaningful to them. Thus the meaning of the language they listen to, read, speak and write will be more vividly experienced and, therefore, better remembered. <http://www.teflgames.com/why.html>
This is doubly reinforced by the same sentiment of Nguyen Thi Thanh Huyen and Khuat Thi Thu Nga (2003):
         Students tend to learn and retain new vocabulary better, when it is applied in a relaxed environment like playing vocabulary games. In fact it has been proved that an interested and involved class, learning through several fun-filled English language games takes in 100% of the lesson and retains 80% of it. <http://www.asian-efl-journal.com/dec_03_sub.Vn.php>
5)          Giving students an unconsciousness of learning process
                  Only 12% of students completely recognized they were learning why playing these games. 14% students were entirely unconscious they were acquiring vocabulary during game play. Meanwhile 74% students were hardly conscious that they were learning while involving in games. Schultz (1988) writes:
Students learn without realizing that they are learning. For instance, when playing a game called "What Would You Do If?" students will have to pick one hypothetical question from those that they have written in a box. They might get a question like "What would you do if a lion came into this classroom?" Next they have to pick one answer that they have written before. The answer they get may be "I would be a fly." Usually the question and the answer they get do not match each other, so students have to use their own imaginations to explain their bizarre answer, and everyone has fun listening to it. The explanation might be "If a lion came into this classroom, I would be a fly because I am a good person, so an angel would come and rescue me by turning me into a fly." While trying to explain, students do not worry too much about grammar mistakes because they want to communicate and to explain why it can happen. Apart from having fun, students do not worry about errors and punishment; moreover, they will learn a grammatical rule and have a chance to use it. Thus, they learn unconsciously-learn without realizing they are learning. Students stop thinking about language and begin using it in a spontaneous and natural manner within the classroom.
In fact, games can stimulate and encourage students to participate in the activity since naturally they want to beat the other teams. During the game plays, students run as fast as possible, remember as much as they can and speak as loudly and clearly as they can. They run quickly back and forth, trying to memorize the content as much as possible. While playing, students have fun, relax, exercise, and tease their friends. Apart from having fun, students learn at the same time. They acquire new vocabulary along with its spelling and pronunciation. Students begin to realize that they have to speak or pronounce the words clearly if they want others to understand what they are saying.
IV>        STUDENTS’ ATTITUDES & REASONS FOR USING GAMES  
1>        Students’ attitudes
After finishing the games, and from questionnaire collected, I found 4% of students strongly agreed and 88% students concurred that those kinds of game should be applied in Lac Hong University in specific and other languages centers in Dong Nai in general. Almost all students think that games are not only useful for vocabulary acquisition but also create a very relaxed, motive and competitive atmosphere which can help them to learn more effectively than other methods. Before getting acquaintance with games, some students considered games as a very time-consuming activity. But, after the game play, most of them showed their joyfulness, willingness and desire to have the games taught in their classes some latest days in Lac Hong and the other universities as well. It is obvious that their negative prejudice on games were faded since then. Games truly bring educational and efficient results to students to acquire vocabulary more than just for fun.
2>        Reasons for using games
According to Richard-Amato (1996:10), even though games are often associated with fun, we should not lose sight of their pedagogical values, particularly in foreign language teaching and learning. Games are effective because they provide motivation, lower students' stress, and give language learners the opportunity for real communication. Yet, there has been much prejudice that games are just for fun, not for educational purposes. Conversely, Kim (1995:23) disagreed with the above prejudice, he said that there is a common perception that all learning should be serious and solemn in nature and that if one is having fun and there is hilarity and laughter, then it is not really learning. This is a misconception. It is possible to learn a language as well as enjoy oneself at the same time. One of the best ways of doing this is through games.
As Aydan Ersoz (2000:12) reaffirms that games should be used for teaching and learning in language classrooms. He continued saying:
Games are highly motivating because they are amusing and interesting. They can be used to give practice in all language skills and be used to practice many types of communication.
< The internet T ESL Journal, Vol. VI, No.6, June 2000>
According to Jean Predieri (1999:32, 33), there are many advantages of using games in the classroom. Consequently, games should be used wildly for many reasons:
§              Games are a welcome break from the usual routine of the language class.
§              They are motivating and challenging.
§              Learning a language requires a great deal of effort. Games help students to make and sustain the effort of learning.
§              Games provide language practice in the various skills- speaking, writing, listening and reading.
§               They encourage students to interact and communicate.
§              They create a meaningful context for language use.
<'Forum' Vol. 33 No 1, January - March 1995, Page 35>
Similarly, the benefits of using games in language learning can be summed up in nine points.
·               Games are learner centered.
·               Games promote communicative competence.
·               Games create a meaningful context for language use.
·               Games increase learning motivation.
·               Games reduce learning anxiety.
·               Games integrate various linguistic skills.
·               Games encourage creative and spontaneous use of language.
·               Games construct a cooperative learning environment.
·               Games foster participatory attitudes of the students.
V>           THE LIMITATIONS OF USING GAMES
         It can not be denied that games bring great benefits to students in helping them to learn more effectively and interestedly; however, games still have some disadvantages. From my questionnaire and observation, the numbers show that not everyone felt comfortable with games and not everyone obtained better results from games. While the other students were eagerly playing the vocabulary games, some students moved reluctantly out of their seats to join in the groups. In addition, not all Vietnamese students thought that games are useful for their learning because they were afraid if games are applied in their class, it would waste their school time. However, after attending these game plays, their minds were positively and considerably changed. Some students believe, “if games are taught once a week, it will be a great activity which can help us learning more interestedly and effectively”, “Our learning program is occasionally hard. These games really offer us a very relaxed and non-stressful atmosphere. It is very helpful.”. Additionally, a majority of Vietnamese teacher consider games as a very noisy activity which sometimes bother the other classes in the area games are applied. Besides, during the games play students tended to use their mother tongue rather than English. Yet, if students have more time to acquaint with games, I believe they will increasingly use English instead of their first language. Also, though games can help students acquire new words better through context, not all games are designed in context and they are in isolation.
                   Another disadvantage of games is sometimes teacher failed to get students to understand the rules of games and this led the games to failure. Thus, as a teacher, the leader must be patient and tried to make clear the games’ rules to students. Furthermore, before using games teacher must pay attention to the ages of students, the levels, as well as the appropriateness of chosen games. Not all games are appropriate for all students, and conversely not all students are receptive to all games. Luckily enough, most games are level adjustable and can be readily adapted for the different levels of the students.
                  Because of the time I spent on implementing games was not long enough, thus I could not help all Vietnamese students to get acquaintance with these kinds of games. Albeit, it is obvious that the more time students spend on the games, the more benefits and effectiveness they can gain from them. Moreover, because the amount of students was rather large, thus I could not get all students’ attention and give them equal turn to play games. Unfortunately, because of limitations of time, I normally have to cover all the content and materials, which students will be tested on, and it is not always easy to incorporate games into the class.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
CHAPTER 4:
SOME NOTICEABLE THINGS OF USING GAMES
I> HOW TO CHOOSE GAME
                   There are many factors to consider when choosing games for teaching and learning vocabulary. We should be very careful about choosing games if we want to make them profitable for the learning process. If a teacher wants games to bring desired results, they must suit either the student's level, or age, and participation willingness. These three factors are only secondary to the first goal of using a game to help meet the aims of an English lesson. A game which heavily involves moving and singing might not be so appropriate for older students, just as a game where tactics are involved or complicated rules or themes might not be appropriate for a younger class. As Siek-Piskozub (1994:37, 38) puts it:
                  Not all games are appropriate for all students irrespective of their age. Different age groups require various topics, materials, and modes of games. For example, children benefit most from games which require moving around, imitating a model, showing pictures, competing between groups and the like. And college students benefit from higher models.
Furthermore, structural games that practice or reinforce a certain grammatical aspect of language have to relate to students' abilities and prior knowledge. Games become difficult when the task or the topic is unsuitable or outside the student's experience. Another factor influencing the choice of a game is its length and the time necessary for its completion. Many games have a time limit, but according to Siek-Piskozub (1994:43), the teacher can either allocate more or less time depending on the students' level, the number of people in a group, or the knowledge of the rules of a game, etc. When choosing a game to implement in the English classroom, teacher should care of the relationship between games and the current aims and goals of the lesson.
                  With these basic criterion in mind, choosing a game should be relatively easy, and once chosen, should be easily adapted for the students level in the current aim. For stronger students, one should provide more challenging games, even games which elicit some minimal form of competition. For weaker students, the games should be task centered so that success or failure does not lead to disappointment. According to Tyson (2000:57) writes when choosing games,
A game must be more than just fun. A game should involve "friendly" competition and should keep all of the students involved and interested. Additionally, a game should encourage students to focus on the use of language rather than on the language itself and should give students a chance to learn, practice, or review specific language material as well. http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Deesri-Games.html>
In addition to the above criteria there are several characteristics of the games that need to be taken into account when deciding on which one to implement. The game should have simple, easy to explain instructions and should be able to be set up and started playing in a relatively short amount of time. Longer, more complex games can be employed. Additionally, remember that games serve the purpose of enhancing the learning experience of the classroom, not simply fill time. They should be employed in the classroom in the same manner and the same amount as role plays. In this way, by combining both open ended language exploration drills, the students can feel both good about their language skills as well as enabling them to practice their language in more free form environments then normal rote learning implies.
                  There are a great number of language games. So teachers have a variety of choices. However, in deciding which game to use in a particular class and which games will be most appropriate and most successful with their students, teachers must take many factors into account. As Carrier (1990) states;
Teachers should first consider the level of the game to fit their students' language level. They should choose the game that fits the purposes of that class or the content. Moreover, teachers should consider students' characteristics: whether they are old or young, serious-minded or light-hearted, and highly motivated to learn or not. They should also consider when the game should be used because there is a big difference between using the game in the morning or in the afternoon, on Monday or Friday. In addition to the factors mentioned, teachers should also be able to play and overact sometimes to help students feel comfortable and want to join the activity. This means teachers should thoroughly understand the game and its nature and be able to lead the game. It is quite difficult to find a game that meets all of the teachers' requirements. Some games must be adapted in order to fit students' language level, natures, and characteristics. The most important factor is that games should be used when they can give students both fun and educational meaning otherwise they will be a waste of time.
II> WHEN TO USE GAMES
                  It is necessary for those who want to use games as a learning aid to be concerned about when to use them. Hadfield (1990:22) suggested that games should be regarded an integral part of the language syllabus. Games can contribute to students' skills if they are incorporated into the classroom, particularly if they are used to reinforce or introduce a grammatical rule or structure. Moreover, students can take this opportunity to use them in real communication. However, even though games sometimes do not work since student have different learning styles and preferences, and some other factors such as being used in an inappropriate time, the nature of games themselves, and even the nature of teachers, it is still worth trying to use them in class because they offer several good advantages to students. Language games used in the classroom are very effective and supportive activities in contributing to students' language skills and proficiency. Nevertheless, it can be seen that games are very useful and can be used to develop students' language learning and also provide the students an opportunity to practice communication in class. Therefore, it is recommended that games should be used anywhere in English classroom as long as teachers try some games that may be useful to their students in order to enhance students' proficiency and help them meet their goals.
                  Games are often used as short warm-up activities or when there is some time left at the end of a lesson. Yet, as Lee (1979:3) observes, a game "should not be regarded as a marginal activity filling in odd moments when the teacher and class have nothing better to do". Games ought to be at the heart of teaching foreign languages. Rixon (1992:10) suggests that games be used at all stages of the lesson, provided that they are suitable and carefully chosen.
         Games also lend themselves well to revision exercises helping learners recall material in a pleasant, entertaining way. All authors referred to in this article agree that even if games resulted only in noise and entertained students, they are still worth paying attention to and implementing in the classroom since they motivate learners, promote communicative competence, and generate fluency. It is quite difficult to find a game that meets all of the teachers' requirements. Some games must be adapted in order to fit students' language level, natures, and characteristics. The most important factor is that games should be used when they can give students both fun and educational meaning otherwise they will be a waste of time.
 
 
CHAPTER 5:
SUMMARY, RECOMMENDATION & CONCLUSION
I>             SUMMARY
In sum, this research includes 5 chapters. The first part is the introduction. The second part is about the reasons why both English students and language learners should pay much attention to vocabulary learning. Next part is the main points which show how Vietnamese students’ responses to games, what benefits or good results that students can gain from games. In this part, I have made clear and found the answer to the question “Do games help students learn vocabulary effectively?” Also, I show some noticeable and necessary things when using games in the fourth part. Finally, I summary conclude and give my recommendation for this research. Furthermore, I show some suggesting games with different topics and level, so that those who care of games can take them as a useful handbook for getting acquaintance with English games.
These above things suggest that games are effective activities as a technique for vocabulary learning. Students also prefer games to other activities. Games not only motivate and entertain students but also help them learn in a way which aids the retention and retrieval of vocabulary using.
II>          RECOMMENDATION
Although, it cannot be said that games are always better and easier to cope with for everyone, an overwhelming majority of students find games relaxing and motivating. Games should be an integral part of a lesson, providing the possibility of intensive practice while at the same time immensely enjoyable for both students and teachers. My research has produced some evidence which shows that games are useful and more interesting than other methods of vocabulary learning. Games in the classroom are an indispensable tool that should be employed by every and all English teachers and students. Games lead to better motivation of the students to learn the language, they promote better retention of the material, they help the students overcome any shyness or limitations hindering their process of study, and they help to foster a more enjoyable learning experience. Having such evidence, I wish to recommend the wide use of games with vocabulary work as a successful way of acquiring language competence.
III>       CONCLUSION
Recently, using games has become a popular technique applied by many educators in the classrooms and recommended by methodologists in the world. Many sources list the advantages of the use of games in foreign language classrooms. Yet, scarcely have I found any empirical evidence for the usefulness of games in vocabulary learning and teaching in Viet Nam, especially in Dong Nai. Partly, as a result of this, I did this research to find out the real evidence and helpful effectiveness that games bring to Lac Hong students specifically and to Vietnamese students generally.
Though the main objectives of the games are to acquaint students with new words or phrases and help them remember vocabulary better and faster, they also help develop the students' communicative competence. From the observations, I noticed that those groups of students who joined in and practiced vocabulary activity with games felt more motivated and interested in what they were doing. This may makes clear that more time devoted to activities leads to better results. The marks students received suggested that the fun and relaxed atmosphere accompanying the activities facilitated students' learning. The use of games during the lessons might have motivated students to work more on the vocabulary items on their own, so the game might have only been a good stimulus for extra work. It cannot be denied that games are useful and effective tools that should be applied in vocabulary classes. The use of games in learning acquisition is a way to make the lessons more interesting, enjoyable and effective.
 
 
REFERENCES
 
Ø            Carrier, M. (1990). Take 5: Games and Activities for the Language Learner, UK: np. Pp 6-11. Available at: <http://www.iteslj.org/Techniques/Chen-Games.html>
Ø            Deckert, G. (2004). The Communicative Approach: Addressing Frequent Failure. Forum. Vol 42. March 2004. http://exchanges.state.gov/forum/vols/vol42/no1/p12.htm
Ø           Gee, J.P. (2003) What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy Palgrave MacMillan, New York, New York. Ersoz, A. Six Games for the EFL/ESL Classroom The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. VI, No. 6, June 2000. http://www.aitech.ac.jp/~iteslj/Lessons/Ersoz-Games.html
Ø           Hadfield, J. (1990). An Collection of Games and Activities for Low to Mid-Intermediate students of English. Intermediate Communication Games. Hong Kong: Thomus and Nelson and Nelson and Sons Ltd.
Ø           Huyen, N. & Nga, K. (2003).Learning Vocabulary Through Games. Asian EFL Journal. December 2003. http://www.asian-efl-journal.com/dec_03_sub.Vn.php
Ø           Kim, L. (1995). Creative Games for the Language Class. Forum, Vol. 33. March 1995. Page 35. http://exchanges.state.gov/forum/vols/vol33/no1/p35.htm
Ø           Langeling, M. & Malarcher, C. Index Cards: A Natural Resource for Teachers. Forum, Vol. 35. December 1997. Page 42. http://www.exchanges.state.gov/forum/vols/vol35/no4/p42.htm
Ø           Lewis, M. (1977). Crashing. TLT Online Editor. Available at:
http://www.language.hyper, chubu.ac.jp/jalt/pub/tlt/97/mar/crashing.html
Ø            McCallum, G. (1980) 101 Word Games, Oxford University Press, Oxford, United Kingdom. Available at: http://www.iteslj.org/games
Ø           Mei, Y. & Yu-jing, J. Using Games in an EFL Class for Children. Daejin University ELT Research Paper. Fall 2000. Available at: http://english.daejin.ac.kr/~rtyson/fall2000/elt/games.html
Ø           Uberman, A. (1998).The Use of Games For Vocabulary Presentation and Revision. Forum. Vol. 36. March 1998. Page 20. http://exchanges.state.gov/forum/vols/vol36/no1/p20.htm
 
 
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