It’s widely known that when studying a foreign language, four basic types of activity have to be considered both by teacher and student. Those types are the following: reading, writing, listening and speaking. When learning English we have to concentrate on these too, no other new strategies or ways of studying have been elaborated in practicing foreign languages so far. One of secrets of success here hides in creative and effective combination of all four activities. If accomplished well enough, it will ensure most rapid and pleasant acquiring of language knowledge. However there is one thing that can be applied in any type of work mentioned above, and which has a strong potential to make even boring parts of studying - exciting and really unforgettable. This is a Game.
A Game can be used in any kind of exercise. Certainly, involving games into reading and writing activities is a bit more troublesome in comparison with situations of accomplishing oral tasks. However it is still possible to do. An exciting thing here is that playing games gives same effect on both children and adults, though it’s crystal clear that playing should be used more frequently with children. Various kinds of games bring fresh trends, new spirits, enthusiasm and interest in the process of routine studying.
When talking about children we can mention active games first, like playing with the ball when studying new vocabulary (throwing over a ball to each other with a teacher or a partner). Transferring a ball is accompanied with questions and answers, or with Russian and English translations of new words to foreign language and backward. This type of interactive work with a pupil relieves and introduces a great deal of diversity.
Another possibility to involve a student into an active perception of information is role-playing. It is relatively easy to accomplish this type of work within a dialogue between two students (“imagine that you are a hero of the novel and design a situation…”, etc), a dialogue with a teacher, or simply a monologue on behalf of the literary hero. Nowadays role-playing is actively used within theatrical plays performed in foreign language. This is rather exciting way of studying foreign language, which inspires a student not only to learn language, but moulds and wakens his imagination, brings diversity in his studying, stimulates to know more and explore language further.
Various kinds of visual methods are also able to introduce new approach to the study of English language. Watching movies and cartoons, listening to songs and dialogues in original, commenting on slides, presentations and photos is indeed a priceless way to teach. One of the target ideas of a teacher is also to attract and involve student’s attention, considering his personal natural type of learning (audial, visual or kinesthetic). For kinesthetic learners it is not enough to watch pictures/slides and listen to the teacher’s comments, it’s essential for them to have some visual aids, some true items to touch, describe and analyze.
Considering the above mentioned peculiarities, we need to mention one more method gaining more and more popularity at schools and universities – this is a method of projects. This is a unique type of studying, involving a group of different learners and offering a big variety of activities, including but not limited to: theoretical part (searching for information in foreign language, choosing and collecting it, analyzing theoretical data, making research based on literary sources and setting up the target of work); practical part (including some kind of experiment/research, describing it and analyzing the results); creative part (designing the way of presenting the material, preparation of slides, photos, graphs, visual aids, other sources of presenting the data). This kind of project work is time and effort consuming; however in fact it involves various types of work, and moreover teachers pupils/students to work and communicate together. Weak point here lays in the possibility that one person will fulfill only certain (very limited) type of task for the common project (and it might be the task that is accomplished by this particular person better and easier comparing with the others, so he is not developing and learning much when doing it). However in general project work is balancing those kinds of things, and gives an opportunity to all pupils/students to express and develop themselves in most suitable way. The role of teacher here is to accomplish intermediate control and overview of the project work; giving advice and directions when needed; and ensure that any participant does a part of work which develops his personal inclinations in learning English language.
Our primary global target when studying any kind of science or language is self-development; therefore the latter method described in this article seems to be optimal in view of maximal consideration and taking into account of individual student’s needs and abilities. However in any case these project works should not prevail in the process of studying foreign language, but should be a bright example of progressive studying and an element of multiplicity in classical educational process.