The human board game

Published on 23rd December, 2010 in Teaching Tips by Frances Watkins

Board games can be a great way to revise and informally test different aspects of taught language. The ‘human board game’ can be used with adults, young adults and younger learners, and it particularly appeals to kinaesthetic learners. It is essentially a fun, fresh and physical angle on an old favourite. You need a reasonably spacious room and a set of relevant questions. Use a variety of questions and question types; try to include spelling and pronunciation too, aspects which are often overlooked when testing or revising. If you have eight lines (see below), you’ll need 24 questions for three teams (include a few extra ones too).

1  Move aside any classroom furniture, as necessary.

2  Find pieces of wool or string to represent the ‘squares’, each approximately 60 cm long. Lay down at least eight well-spaced ‘lines’ on the floor, at least 60 cm apart, to represent the squares on a board game. The lines can be like a racetrack, running around the corners of the room, or just in a straight line like a ladder.

3  Divide the class up into three teams, or more if relevant.

4  Each team chooses a representative who ‘walks the board’ for their team.

5  Decide which team will start, then ask them a question based on what you have studied. Giving the question / sentence orally is the easiest option for you, but you could write or project it onto the board if it is lengthy or complicated.

6  The team should confer for up to 60 seconds before answering. Accept the first answer only and if this is correct, their representative moves forward one space. If wrong, they move back a space, and so on. The first representative to reach the finishing line wins for their team.