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Improving the Grammar Competence by Using Past Tense Board Games

By Yahya Ramadoni (15020084058)

A. Introduction
“What is the past tense verb of Play?”
“How about Drink?”
English known as the most frequent language is used by people in the world
to communicate each other. They need to learn it before they can link with others. In
order to learn English, learners have to pay attention on some components, for
example grammar that is one of the components of a particular language. It rules the
configuration of clauses, phrases, and words. It is used to produce sentences and also
known as the terms in language. Elementary students mostly confuse in applying
simple past tense terms, because Bahasa Indonesia as their mother tongue does not
have past time terms. Some teachers use grammar translation method that does not
give much effect for students. They need to improve the grammar by using other
pleasurable ways, because learners must know what the terms of grammar are.
Learners might speak well if they mastered the grammar. Grammar competence can
be improved in several ways, the most popular one is by using games. Hadfield
(1998: 4) stated that the game is ‘an activity with rules, a goal and an element of fun’.
The meaningful fun activity may support learners’ grammar competence.
Using past tense board games improves the grammar competence of learners.
As we know, teachers usually use grammar translation method for teaching grammar
that makes learners feel less motivation while learning process. Teaching grammar by
using games is the best strategies, because it increases learners’ motivation. They feel
joyful and a lot of fun. The advantages of board games give important contribution in
learning grammar. The relation is strong enough because the rules, the goal, and the
element of fun support the grammar competence well.

B. Basic Concept of the Grammar

Every language has its grammar in making sentences, because grammar is
part of language component. Rules are related to definition of grammar. It is the
entire structural and arranged of a language in wide-ranging that consists of
semantics, syntax, phonology, and morphology. Scott Thornbury (1999) argued that:
Grammar is defined as:
“A description of the rules for forming sentences, including an account of the
meanings that these forms convey.”
And said that:
“Grammar adds meanings that are not easily inferable from the immediate
context. The kinds of meanings realized by grammar are principally:
Representational that is, grammar enables us to use language to describe the
world in term of how, when and where things happen.”

Based on the explanation above, the definition of grammar is a procedure to

make clear the information from speaker's or writer’s perspective. It is used by the
readers, the listeners, the viewers how to catch the main meanings of the sentences.
So, knowing grammar is important while learners are expected to learn a language.
There are numerous categories of English grammar. Mostly people know that
English Grammar is tenses. Based on Merriam-Webster Dictionary, tense is a
distinction of form in a verb to express distinctions of time or duration of the action r
state it denotes. Furthermore, Oxford English Dictionary stated that tense is a set of
forms taken by a verb to indicate the time. A variation of the change of verb form
includes all verb, be and auxiliary that are usually used as predicate in the sentence,
which should be appropriated with the kinds of time expression is called as tense
(Pardiyono: 2007).
16 tenses in the grammar should be mastered by the learners. They are simple
present tense, present perfect tense, present continuous tense, present perfect
continuous tense, simple past tense, past perfect tense, past continuous tense, past
perfect continuous tense, simple future tense, future perfect tense, future continuous
tense, and future perfect continuous.
Teaching grammar for language learner is necessary. Teaching grammar is a
different matter, because it is not as easy as teaching pronunciation or vocabulary. For
elementary students, usually they only learn present and past tenses. Indonesian
students face some difficulties while learning past tense, because there is no term like
past tense in Bahasa Indonesia. Despite their best efforts, students consistently
misuse, misunderstand and misapply tenses (Aitken: 1998). It needs extra plan and
time for teacher to think what the best methods in teaching grammar.
Based on language teaching and learning (Larsen and Freeman, 2000) there
are some methods includes the grammar aspects. Some of them are below:
a. Grammar Translation Method
This method underlines the grammar component to be imparted. Because
the main purpose of language learning is to be able to read literature
written in the second language, grammatical terms are given in quite large
part and are imparted deductively.

b. Direct Method
Making the students have a communication in target language is the
objective of direct method. Therefore, the part of grammatical terms that
to be imparted is quite small. It tends to be taught inductively, that
students are provided with illustrations and they figure out the terms or
generalization from the illustrations.

c. Audio-lingual Method
Students are hoped to be able to use the language communicatively is the
goal of this method. There are many drillings as stimulant to make habits
in target language. Grammar is taught inductively through given
illustrations and explicit grammar terms are not provided.

d. Communicative Language Learning

This method has main objective in language teaching and learning that is
students’ communication skill. However, the grammar context is given in
quite part as the pre-communicative activities.

According to Pardiyono (2007), if you understand the rules about the change
of verb form and also understand about the grouping of time expression, you have not
gotten difficulties in using tenses. For this paper, writer will more focus on how to
teach simple past tense. Writer will combine some methods above with a board game
called as Past Tense Board Games.

C. Basic Concept of the Board Games

Teaching grammar by using Grammar Translation Method (GTM) only is not
interesting for some students. Nowadays teaching has changed a lot over the past
years. Today learners are usually much more active in the classroom, and what better
way to be active than by playing games (Steve Sugar, 1998). So, teachers prefer to
use games in order to help students in learning English, as a second language. There
are some reasons that games deserve a media in the teaching grammar. First, games
are entertaining which make students more active in the classroom. It makes a good
atmosphere while teaching activities. Second, games participate to build relationships
between students or students to teacher. Students will learn how to appreciate any
diversity which may be really accommodating in keeping a positive atmosphere.
Third, games can be a media to accommodate students practicing their skill. It is
related to the purpose of learning language that is to apply it in real life. Those
reasons support why games is important to be used in the classroom. Games that can
be used in teaching activities can be divided into some categories. The most popular
one is board games.

According to Parlett (1999):

“A board game is any that can be played on a flat surface such as a table or
floor.” A board game is a game played across a board by two or more players.
The board may have markings and designated spaces, and the board game
may have tokens, stones, dice, cards, or other pieces that are used in specific
ways throughout the game. (
game.htm accessed on 8 July 2014).

Based on definition above, board game is a multi-player game that uses a

board and a dice as a media. Board games itself have different types and rules, but it
still can attract students’ motivation. The objective of this game is to get students to
practice their grammar competence.
During the learning activity students also practice their listening and speaking

D. The Procedures of Using the Board Games


E. Conclusion

Based on all of the information stated above it seems clear that past tense board
games can be used in teaching grammar to improve learners’ grammar competence.
Learners become more active in the whole learning process because they have a lot of
fun while learning process. Past tense board games not only generate a comfortable
and friendly atmosphere inside the classroom but also make the learning more real.
Learners could sense that everything is relevant by using games. Past tense board
games could make reading more fun and provide students with a reason to learn past
tense in grammar, which is important because of how essential the grammar is.

A. IDEA 2 (Basic Concept of the Board Games)

 Definition of the board games
 Advantages of using the board games
B. IDEA 3 (The Procedures of using the Board Games)
 Procedures in using the board games
 Relation the board games and the grammar competence
 Restatement of the all ideas
 Restatement the thesis topic

 Klimov (2014), Games in the Teaching of English, WCES
 Sigurðardóttir (2010), The use of games in the language classroom
 Freitas (2007), Using games and simulations for supporting learning,
University of London
 Talak-Kiryk (2010), Using Games in A Foreign Language Classroom,
SIT Graduate Institute
 Saraswati (2015), The Use of Board Game to Improve Students’
Grammar Mastery, IAIN Salatiga