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Using Games to teach Young Children English Language

Thesis · August 2017

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Master’s Thesis to obtain the degree of Master in Education Sciences

USING GAMES TO TEACH YOUNG CHILDREN


ENGLISH LANGUAGE
Teachers’ primary purpose of and their perceptions on using
games when teaching English language to young children

SOCHETRA HANG
2016-2017

Amount of Words: 13,153

Promotor: Prof. Dr. CHANG ZHU


Psychology and Educational Sciences
Psychology & Educational Sciences Academic year 2016/2017

SUMMARY MASTER’S THESIS

(to include after the title-page + 1 separate page A4)

Surname and name: Hang Sochetra Student ID: 0526287

Title of the master’s thesis: Using Games to Teach Young Children English Language
Promoter: Prof. Dr. Chang ZHU
Summary: (371 words)

Children, with their distinguished characteristics as natural language acquirers, cannot be exposed to
serious learning all the time; thus, teachers need to keep modifying their lessons to fit this type of learners.
While games are thought to be fun and benefit learners in various ways, games have become the most
suitable activities for children. However, since teachers are solely responsible in making decisions on what to
teach in class, it is best to explore the teachers’ points of view on games as learning activities. Therefore, the
research objectives of this study focus on teachers’ primary purpose of using games, their perception on the
effectiveness of games as teaching tools, and the criteria considered by teachers when choosing games to use
in young children classes.
Mixed research methodology was used as the approach to carry out the study. The online
questionnaires was designed, sent to, and completed by 27 teachers from 3 campuses of Australian Centre for
Education. 7 teachers who had already completed the online questionnaire were then randomly selected to
participate in the online interview. The results show that teachers’ primary purpose of using games in English
language teaching classroom of young children is to keep them in focus and allow them to have fun at the
same time (m=4.44, sd=0.58). Then, teachers are reported to agree that games are effective tools for
teaching English to young children (m=4.33. sd=0.56). Regarding the main factors of choosing games, it is
stated that games will be used if they fit with content, design, and objective (m=3.41, sd=0.64). It is followed
by the factor stating that games will be used if they provide social contact and group work (m=3.15,
sd=0.72), and the last factor is language games will be used by teachers of English in the classes of young
children if they are flexible and adaptable (m=3.37, sd=0.57).
In conclusion, the findings prove that the researchers’ expected results have been achieved.
Considerable significances including the study can be regarded as convincing reasons for teachers to amend
their teaching techniques, and the study can be kept as a reference to create games assessment checking list
are addressed. Nonetheless, there is also an inclusion of major limitation regarding the context and sample of
the study.
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Acknowledgements

This part is written with the purpose of expressing my gratitude towards the people who have made the

completion of this master thesis possible.

First and foremost, I would like to express my profound gratitude to my thesis supervisor/promotor, Prof. Dr.

Chang Zhu, of the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences at Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). For

the whole period of completing this master thesis, despite her tight schedule, Professor Zhu has always been

available for valuable discussion whenever I made a request. Her helpful guidance and advices have

consistently steered me to the right direction, which allows me to eventually and successfully finish my own

work on time.

Next, I would like to wholeheartedly thank all the targeted participants who were involved in this research

study. In spite of residing in different time zone and place, they still heartedly agree to participate without

hesitance. Their full, active, and passionate participation is the main and only reason behind the validation of

this study.

I also would like to thank Mr. Sopheap Kaing and Mr. Chan Reaksmey Mech who are a classmate and a

previous colleague of mine respectively. I am deeply indebted to Mr. Sopheap’s previous practical experiences

for he has spent considerable amount of time to guide me to solve unanticipated and technical problems

occurring during the completion of this master thesis. On the other hand, without Mr. Reaksmey’s presence

and assistance, a requested to conduct my study in Australian Center for Education would never be approved.

My sincere thanks also go to Erasmus Mundus Program (Lotus+ Project). The program had offered me an

opportunity to pursue my academic journey as a master student in educational sciences, which led me to

conduct this master thesis and allowed me to keep it as my significant accomplishment respectively.

Finally, allow me to express my thanks to my parents, sister, and close friends for they have always been a

great source of motivation. Their presence, encouragement, and unswerving supports have substantially

strengthened me throughout the years of study and the time of completing this master thesis.

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Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………1

1.1 PROBLEM STATEMENT……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….2

CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………3

2.1 Learning Through Playing………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….3

2.2 Children as Language Learners…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………3

2.3 Games (Definitions and Characteristics)………………………………………………………………………………………………………….4

2.4 Games and the “Four Macro Skills” in English Language…………………………………………………………………………………6

2.5 Teachers in Using Games to teach English Language………………………………………………………………………………………8

2.5.1 Teachers’ Perceptions towards Games………………………………………………………………………………………….8

2.5.2 Teachers and Games Selection……………………………………………………………………………………………………..9

CHAPTER 3: RESEARCH OBJECTIVE AND RESEARCH QUESTIONS……………………………………………………………12

CHAPTER 4: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY………………………………………………………………………………………………………..13

4.1 Context…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….13

4.2 Participants………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………13

4.3 Research Procedure…………………….………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….13

4.4 Online Questionnaire and Online interview…………………………………………………………………………………………………….14

4.5 Data Analysis……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………15

CHAPTER 5: DATA ANALYSIS AND RESULTS…………………………………………………………………………………………………17

5.1 Quantitative Data Analysis………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………17

5.2 Qualitative Data Analysis…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………26

CHAPTER 6: DISCUSSION…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………31

6.1 Discussing Main Research Questions……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..31

6.2 Theoretical Implications of the Study…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….35

6.3 Significance of the Study………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..36

6.4 Strengths and Limitations of Research Instruments………………………………………………………………………………………37

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6.5 Limitations of the Study………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….38

CHAPTER 7: CONCLUSION…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………39

REFERENCES…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………40

APPENDICES

APPENDIX 1: Letter of Request Data Collection……………………………………………………………………………………………………42

APPENDIX 2: Online Questionnaire……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….44

APPENDIX 3: Online Interview Questions…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….49

APPENDIX 4: Online Interview Transcripts……………………………………………………………………………………………………………50

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List of Tables

Table 1: Checklist of assessing a game……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….10

Table 2: Reliability Statistics of Teachers’ Purpose of Using Games Construct………………………………………………….17

Table 3: Teachers’ Purposes of Using Games in English Language Teaching Class of Young Children…………….18

Table 4: Reliability Statistics of Games’ Effectiveness Construct (Part 1)………………………………………………………….19

Table 5: Reliability Statistics of Games’ Effectiveness Construct (Part 2)………………………………………………………….19

Table 6: Teachers’ Perception on Effectiveness of Using Language Learning Games………………………………………..20

Table 7: Main Factors/Aspects Considered by Teachers When Choosing Language Learning Games……………….21

Table 8: Reliability Statistics of Value of Games Construct…………………………………………………………………………………22

Table 9: Value of Language Learning Games……………………………………………………………………………………………………….22

Table 10: Reliability Statistics of Learning Issues Construct……………………………………………………………………………….23

Table 11: Language Learning Games and Learning Issues………………………………………………………………………………….23

Table 12: Reliability Statistics of Teachers Relatedness………………………………………………………………………………………24

Table 13: Teachers in relation to Language Learning Games………………………………………………………………………………25

Table 14: Years of Teaching in relation to Factors of Choosing Games………………………………………………………………26

v
i
CHAPTER 1

Introduction

The problem arising in this contemporary education society is that learning today has changed and its

process somehow differs from that in the past. So where does the difference lie? In the earlier years, the main

focus of education is on the acquisition of the basic skills as well as content knowledge ranging from reading,

writing, calculating, history and science. On the contrary, what accounts for a success in learning or education

today is the ability to use high order skills including the ability to think through, to solve complex problems,

and to interact critically through language (Stirling, 2013). This, somehow, implies that one is in need of

mastering how to use language to communicate his or her own thought effectively. On the other hand, one

true fact about language learning is that it is believed to be a difficult task which most of the time will trigger

a frustration out of a learner. The learner, at every moment, is required to accumulate and maintain constant

effort in order to understand and produce the target language. In these recent years, language researchers as

well as language specialists have managed to change their focus from just developing individual linguistic

skills to the use of language to achieve the speakers’ objectives instead, which has been recognized as

communicative competence (Chen, 2005). This area of focus has brought about the scenario in which

language instructors or teachers devote great effort to seek for any task-oriented activities that will engage

learners in creative language use. With a deliberate effort, it has been noticed that games, which are regarded

as task-based, do serve as effective communicative activities that go beyond the production of correct speech

(Saricoban & Metin, 2000). For all intents and purposes, the aim of the games referred here, specifically the

language learning games, is to help students to not only use the target language, but also use that target

language to discuss and negotiate until they get the desirable results. As a matter of fact, ‘Games-in-

Education’ is gaining its importance in both informal and formal education. The research literatures, although

they are still at limited amount for now, advocating the use of educational games have been continuously

growing in numbers and have become the consuming interest of the researchers these days.

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1.1 Problem Statement

Games are indeed intrinsically motivating. A great deal of educational research has so long confirmed

that intrinsic motivation contributes substantially to learning; therefore, if considering an educational point of

view, some issues are worth mentioning: what does a learner learn through playing games, how does this

kind of learning relate to helping the learners achieve agreed upon goals of language learning, and what roles

should teachers play? Regarding the last question concerning teacher’s role in learning through games

environment, since it has been reported that the matter of student’s learning boils down to teachers, it can be

inferred that teachers are the most powerful individuals who make a decision on what should be included in

their language teaching classroom. Thus, it is very important to start to look at actual perspectives of teachers

on the inclusion of games in the classroom. With the hope of obtaining better and more reliable answers to

respond back to the matter of learning language through games, the scope of this paper will be specifically

narrowed down to only learning English language through games. Therefore, the core concern which will be

addressed in this paper, which is actually developed from the issues mentioned earlier, is going to be the

primary purpose of language instructors or teachers in using games in their classroom when they are teaching

children English as the foreign language.

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CHAPTER 2

LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1 Learning through Playing

According to Roth (1998), playing is a child’s natural way of learning. Since birth, play—constructive

play—constitutes the fundamental aspects of children’s intellectual, emotional, social, and physical

development (NIU). By exposing to the learning environment in which there is an existence of constructive

play, children are confirmed to expand their intelligence, for instance, their knowledge and understanding of

the world around them (NIU). In this sense, play thereupon helps prepare children for their academic learning

once they begin their school years and even at each step along the academic journey. However, the most

common misconception about learning is that it is supposed to be serious, intense, and, no doubt, solemn in

nature (Kim, 1995). If a person, in his or her learning environment, is experiencing fun or is exposed to

hilarity and laugher, it is assumed that he or she is not really learning. Despite this fact, one needs to accept

that it is still possible to learn as well as enjoy oneself at the same time. When it comes down to learning

environment of children, it is almost impossible to separate playing from learning. This is due to an undeniable

fact that children love to play, and most importantly, plays happen to mirror what is important in their lives.

Conclusively, play is accepted to be a preparation for children towards the prospective rewarding adult lives

(NIU).

2.2 Children as language leaners

As learners, children have been known to be more enthusiastic and lively (Cameron, 2001). They are

considered to be the natural language acquirers (Dunn, 2011). Moreover, children are also the self-motivated

learners who have the habit of picking up a new language unconsciously. In addition to this, they seem to be

always giving a try on an activity even when they do not fully understand why or how. Surprisingly, the

difficulty of learning to talk in foreign language, for example, English, is not a concern for children at all, albeit

this difficulty was addressed by adult learners who determinedly learn English through grammar-based

textbooks (Dunn, 2011). Nonetheless, Dunn (2011) added that if they are chosen to compare to adult

learners, they happen to be the ones who would lose interest more quickly and would be less able to keep

motivated on activities which they find personally difficult or tedious for them. While some children tend to

learn quicker and sometimes better than others, they are all still quite good at learning. In the case of foreign

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language learning, it is absolutely necessary for teachers to get to know their learners (children) very well in

order to find the best way to teach. To be precise, by knowing children’s characteristics and instincts in foreign

language learning, it will, as a result, make effective teaching possible.

According to the report regarding characteristics of young leaners, which was published by Guangdong

Teacher College of Foreign Languages and Arts, young learners (children) normally imitate their teachers and

tapes, interact with others, are willing to take risks, make mistakes, and play. It was also found that the more

interesting and entertaining the learning activity is, the more children will pay attention on and get involved in

it. Since this is the case, does it imply that young learners, particularly children, will learn better once they

immerse themselves with entertainment or playing? Whether the answer is yes or no, one of the all articles in

VOICE magazine which is the publication under British Council has stated that ‘Play’ has taken a significant

role in terms of the meaning of life to children in their development stage. Simplistically, ‘Play’, in this respect,

can be regarded as a testing ground for language as well as reasoning skills. It is further suggested that when

talking about language learning, teachers of foreign languages are advised to promote learning through

playing as much as possible (Villarroel, 2015). Among all the most entertaining and exciting ways to promote

such learning, educational games (flashcards, competitions, races, so on, and so forth) could be counted as

the best means to introduce and encourage active learning as well as help children to develop their social

skills (Villarroel, 2015).

2.3 Games (Definition and Characteristics)

Inevitably, games happen to be a customary way in leaners’ lives regardless of their grade level. The

learners are exposed to games throughout the days at their homes, on their computers, on the internet, and

even on their cellphones. Nevertheless, one of the places where they would not regularly been given a chance

to play games is their classroom. Even though some teachers have decided to use games as parts of the

instructional approach or demonstration, most of them would not hold the same idea about games.

Particularly, those teachers who have included games as their teaching technique might not use them to their

potential (Marzano, 2010).

In order to see whether games are correlated with language learning or not, it is best to invest a

considerable amount of time to review the various definitions of game and its characteristics in the first place.

According to Harfield (1999), a game is an activity with rules, a goal and an element of fun. He confidently

stated that:
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Games should be regarded as an integral part of the language syllabus, not as an amusing activity for Friday

afternoon or for the end of the term. They can be used at all stages of the progression from controlled to free

practice, serving at one end of the range as a memory aid and repetition drill, at the other as a chance to use the

language freely and as a means to an end rather than an end in itself. They can also serve as a diagnostic tool for

teacher, who can note areas of difficulty and take appropriate remedial action. (1999, p.7)

In addition to this, the supports from many experienced book and methodology manual authors have

revealed that games are not considered to be just time-filling or warm-up activities. Instead, games do have

an inordinate education value. Lee (1979), a top-notch writer of Language teaching games and contests,

opined that regarding language learning, most language games enable young learners to use the language

right away instead of thinking about learning the correct form. To make his opinion appear more convincing,

he continued inserted that games should not be treated as peripheral but central to the foreign language

teaching program. Interestingly, Lee’s idea was also supported by Richard-Amato (1988) who believed that

games can be the activities that lower anxiety which are capable of making the acquisition of input more

likely.

Based on the above definitions of and opinions about games from different writers, an importance of

games has highly been valued in teaching. This further emphasizes that when games are being used in class,

they do not only help students to learn more effectively but also to have fun at the same time. Consequently,

language instructors, specifically teachers, have started to acknowledge that, in terms of teaching techniques,

games will serve not only as an ‘amusing activity’, but also as a technique to carry out tasks to learners in an

amusing kind of way as well. However, even many language instructors seems to be immensely enthusiastic

in using games as educational tools, they normally still consider games as mere time-fillers—a break from the

monotony drilling—or frivolous activities (S.M. Silvers as cited in Uberman, 1998). The reason behind this,

according to Silvers, should be the perception of those teachers who overlook the fact that within a relaxed

atmosphere, real learning does take place; thus, students tend to use the language they have been given an

instruction to and have practised earlier. In spite of all the facts, in the interest of revealing the benefits of

using games for language learning, Chen (as cited in Petrovic, 2014) reported the nine main beneficial aspects

including:

1. Games are learner-centered (the student is always in focus).

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2. Games promote communicative competence.

3. Games create meaningful context for language use.

4. Games increase learning motivation.

5. Games reduce learning anxiety.

6. Games integrate linguistic skills.

7. Games encourage creativity and spontaneous usage of the language.

8. Games construct a cooperative usage of the language.

9. Games foster participatory attitudes of the students. (2014, pp.8-9)

It can be assumed that games work as a type of tool to encourage, entertain, teach, and promote fluency

simultaneously. Be that as it may, educators should remember that games are tools which should never be

used in the wrong ways. There is no need to always make the games happen in one day or happen all at

once; therefore, the educators need to shoulder the responsibility regarding how to extend the selected

games and the learning connected to those games (Introduction to Games and Learning: Pre-reader). Games

deserve to be used and adapted to the learning situations and indeed to the learners so that they are suitable

to be effective teaching tools (Petrovic, 2014). Games, even if there are traditionalist educators who

persistently object these aforementioned functions, should be still used just because they accommodate the

learners to see the beauty in learning a foreign language and not just something, which at times, is tedious

and tiresome.

2.4 Games and the “Four Macro Skills” in English language

Among the four macro skills which language learners are supposed to encounter, writing skills is perceived

as the skills which is learnt and not acquired. It can be considered as the most difficult and burdensome in

the target language. One of the reasons could be the fact that it is commonly assigned as homework or as an

unwise punishment from the teachers. Concerning this root cause, for children as the language learners, it

might not appear to be good experiences of writing at all, and in the worst scenario, it can even lead to the

children’s loathing of writing. Fortunately, according to Sigurðardóttir (2010), when games are used, they

seem to be able to prevent the aforementioned calamity. This is because games are not only fun, but they can

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also be the reasons for the learners to write. In this case, despite obeying the teacher’s command, once fun

and reasons are provided, the learners will obviously find writing tasks easier to complete.

For listening skills, it is strongly supported that frequent practice listening activities would be the most

likely effective way of training this so-called skill. As a language teacher, he or she should be reminded to

keep the activities versatile or else their students would get bored easily. Sigurðardóttir (2010) commented

that through combination of listening and games, there is a high possibility that teachers can prevent the

learners (children) form getting bored. When the learners’ attentions are captured, the teachers will succeed

in increasing the chances of students achieving their goals. One of the examples of a good listening game

provided by him is the famous game called ‘Simon says’ in which one student acts as Simon and give other

students instructions or orders.

Since communicative competence has become the major focus of language learning nowadays, it is

stressed that teaching communication is extremely important. However, when it comes down to the actual

teaching students to communicate, it has been notified that language teachers have a real hard time to make

their teaching effective. To support this argument, the finding conducted by Lovísa, Laufey and Samúel (as

cited in Sigurðardóttir, 2010) revealed that:

In elementary schools in Iceland in 2006, only 10% of English teachers, who teach 9th and 10th grade, always use

the target language in the classroom, 66% of them use it often or sometimes, and 24% seldom uses it in the

classroom. The same study showed that students did not use English much either. In fact 39% of students said

they seldom answered their teacher in English and an astonishing 75% of students said they did not use the target

language to communicate with their fellow students. (2010, p.27)

This finding has clarified that when the teachers do not use the target language in the classroom, students

undoubtedly do not use it either. In order to solve this problem, games have been considered as a very

helpful technique for training speaking skills because they naturally call for communication and emphasize

fluency rather than accuracy. This emphasis has encouraged students to communicate more without worrying

about receiving criticism when they make any mistakes. Fluency is indeed an important skill needed in the

real world, and in this respect, games can be viewed as a necessary connection between the classroom and

the real world (Harfield, Intermediate Communication Games, 1990).

Reading, on the other hand, is also proved to be a pivotal skill in learning foreign language, specifically

English language. This is due to the fact that in order to produce any piece of writing, people initially need to
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know how to read (Sigurðardóttir, 2010). Another significant aspect of reading skills that should be addressed

is that this skill is beneficial for people who are planning to go abroad especially where the foreign language is

used and spoken. For instance, they will need this skill to read to be able to understand about directions,

destinations, tourist information, menus, so on and so forth. Focusing on how important reading skills is, it is

obvious that teachers of foreign languages would inevitably put great effort in keeping the learners interested

in their lessons. Similar to the other three skills mentioned above, Sigurðardóttir (2010) again suggested that

language learning games will not only be able to provide diversity, but also keep the subjects entertaining and

interesting.

2.5 Teachers in using Games to teach English Language

2.5.1 Teacher’s perceptions towards Games

It is an undeniable fact that teaching foreign language (English language) to children can be indubitably

daunting and tiring, especially for teachers who have never had any experiences with this certain group of

learners. As it has already been mentioned, as learners, children naturally have shorter attention spans than

adult learners; however, if foreign language teachers are well aware of characteristics of their learners in the

classroom, they will eventually find that teaching those learners is extremely worthwhile.

Since learning is invariably changing, teachers do not have any other choices but to keep modifying their

teaching methods and approaches. As a teacher of foreign languages, in a purpose of supplementing lesson

plans in the classroom, he or she is often found to turn to games. One of all the reasons would be a well

demonstration of justification for using games in the classroom. Games are believed to benefit learners in a

variety of ways ranging from the cognitive aspects of language learning to more co-operative group dynamics

(Malarcher, 1997). They have always been known as the pure symbol of fun, involvement, cooperation, and

competition (Yahoui, 2012). To further support this, El Shamy also clearly stated in her book that:

Game is a competitive activity played according to rules within a given context, where players meet a challenge to

achieve an objective and win (2001, p.15).

In addition to this, El Shamy (2001) added her final say that by including games in the classroom, it

means providing contexts in which the learning materials can be less boring and interesting instead. Even if

this advocacy of games could be counted as logical, considering from teachers’ positions, what are exactly

their views towards games? According to the case study conducted in 2012 at a middle school called Khaoula
8
Bent El Azouar (in Briska) concerning teachers’ perception towards games, the result of this study highlighted

games in a very positive way (Yahoui, 2012). Yahoui (2012) continued stating that even though all the

teachers in the school had different points of view about games, majority of them (approximately 67%)

viewed games as an educating strategy. The rest inserted that games can be both educating and entertaining

strategy for they believed that games can guide students to learn in an enjoyable situation.

2.5.2 Teachers and Game selection

In truth, every student does wish to play games purely for fun and nothing more than that. Different from

the students, teachers strictly need appropriate and convincing reasons before including games in their lecture

(Hong, 2002). Teachers are believed to take times to consider a variety of things such as what type of games

to use, when to use them appropriately, how to coherently link them with the language focus, the syllabus,

textbook or even the program, as well as how different types of games will benefit the students in different

ways (Khan as cited in Hong, 2002). The further precise explanation on this fact is that teachers would spend

time to question themselves which skills or sub-skills are to be improved by games, the learner’s (children)

current status in that particular skill, to where the games are supposed to take the learner, and even which

didactic and methodological intention would best suit the language learning games. In other words, the

teachers, when deciding to include any games in their lesson plan, would attempt to confirm whether the

games aim to introduce, consolidate, automatize, make more flexible, systemize, reactivate, or interlink

particular skills. Last but not least, the teachers would review whether the desired language learning games

indeed pursues both a language goal and a game goal (Sambanis, 2015). In spite of the careful consideration,

it can be witnessed that teachers also apprehend learners’, especially children’s, gratification matter. They

certainly do recognize the value of having their students involve in a combination of learning and playing.

However, this appears to be a challenging teaching problem and teachers, over and over again, do not really

succeed in meeting this challenge. Notwithstanding the proposed challenge, foreign language teachers, if they

wish to adopt games in their teaching, ought to be mindful that the key to successful language game is that

rules should be clear, the ultimate goal of using games is well defined, and most importantly the games

themselves must be fun (Hong, 2002).

With the purpose of assisting teachers to properly select games for their learners, in the book ‘Training

games: Everything you need to know about using games to reinforce learning’, El Shamy (2001) compiled all

the criteria needed to assess the game usefulness in just one table attached below.

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Table 1

Checklist of assessing a game

The Ultimate Training Game Assessment


Game assessed:

Rate each item: 4 = excellent, 3 = good, 2 = fair, 1 = poor, 0 = awful

Value as a Game: 4 3 2 1 0

1. fits with content, design, objective

2. is challenging and engaging

3. adds variety and energy

4. has objective, measurable results

5. yields worthwhile amounts of learning

6. has suitable strategy for winning

7. works with various numbers of players

8. has a high fun facto

Learning Issues:

9. repeats and reinforces key learning

10. gives immediate feedback

11. provides safe practice of new skills

12. develops understanding of concepts

13. provides meaningful challenge

14. stimulates many senses

15. promotes intense dialogue, discussion

16. provides social contact, group work

17. has realistic, complex experiences

18. has analysis, interpretation, reflection

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Trainer Friendly:

19. has minimal advance preparation

20. fits time, space and cost constraints

21. fits trainer competencies

22. is flexible and adaptable

23. is nondisruptive to surroundings

24. is easy to transport

25. you like it!

Comments :

add up your ratings and get a total score:

Note: Reprinted from Training games: Everything you need to know about using games to reinforce learning,
by El- Shamy, S. (p.120).

11
CHAPTER 3

RESEARCH OBJECTIVE AND RESEARCH QUESTIONS

It should be reminded that in order to be able to start using games for teaching, language teachers are in

need to be convinced of the benefits provided by games and how effective the games are compared to other

materials in terms of language teaching. Therefore, the purposes of this study are to observe the primary

purpose formed by teachers of English who choose games as their teaching technique and their opinion on the

effectiveness of using games in the classroom, and last but not least, to enrich a profound understanding

about teachers’ consideration over what makes games appropriate to be used when teaching English language

to children.

Hence, these intentions have correspondingly led to the birth of three questions:

1. What is the language teachers’ primary purpose of using or including games in their English language

teaching classrooms of young children?

2. To what extend do language teachers think that games are effective tools for teaching English

language to young children?

3. In teachers’ opinion, what are the important criteria of the games which should be considered before

using them in English language teaching classrooms of young children?

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CHAPTER 4

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

4.1 Context

Suffering from the unfamiliarity and insufficient knowledge about the educational system in Europe, it

personally appears to the researcher that it is quite unbearable and risky to carry out this particular study in

one of the particular European countries, for example, Belgium. The combination of this hindrance and the

hope of increasing the quantity of empirical findings for Asian countries regarding teaching English language to

children have finally convinced the researcher to make a firm decision to conduct this study in one of

developing countries, namely Cambodia. This study will be conducted in one of the most successful private

English language center called Australian Centre for Education (ACE) which is located in the capital city of

Cambodia—Phnom Penh. It is best to mention that ACE has three different campuses in Phnom Penh: ACE

Samdach Pan, ACE Santhor Mok, and ACE Toul Tom Poung, which means that this particular study will

be conducted in those three campuses accordingly.

4.2 Participants

The revelation of the title itself has clearly confirmed that the potential participants involving in this study

are the teachers of English language who used to and/or are currently participating and teaching in children

program in which the children are in the 8-11 age range. In addition to this, it is important to ensure that the

selected participants are not only the teachers who teach young children, but also the teachers who have ever

included language games in their classroom. The total number of teachers who are teaching English in

Australian Centre for Education (ACE) is 27 ( 16 teachers from ACE Samdach Pan, 6 teachers from ACE

Santhor Mok, and 5 teachers from ACE Toul Tom Poung), and they are all invited to complete the online

questionnaire (the first stage of collecting data). However, for the second stage, it has been decided that

specific numbers of participants who are randomly selected for the online interview are only 7 people.

4.3 Research Procedure

In order to respond to the proposed research questions stated above as well as obtain the most reliable

data, mixed research methods have been selected as the means of data collection. To be precise, the adopted

methods fall into a sequential explanatory design in which the first phase of data collection is done through

13
quantitative study. Since the context of the study is based in Cambodia, specifically at 3 campuses of

Australian Centre for Education (ACE), online questionnaires are designed for, sent to, and filled in by the

teachers who used to and/or are currently teaching young children in those 3 campuses. The first phase of

data collection is followed by the second phase in which an online individual-interview (qualitative study) is

conducted with the selected participants. It should be noted that the participants must complete the

questionnaires first before they are invited for the online-interview.

It was planned that this study would be conducted with three consecutive phases. The first phase started

from May to June 2017. In this first phase, firstly, both online questionnaires and online interview questions

were properly designed or created. Secondly, the letter regarding the objective of conducting the research

was sent to the responsible person of the language center which is the exact place for carrying out the study

(refer to the Context of the study). Next, each and every participant would receive the informed consent

electronic mail in which the participant was explained in details concerning his or her confidentiality when

participating in the study. After that, the second phase—from June to July 2017—was brought into action. In

this phase, the official designed online questionnaires were sent out to participants teaching in all three

branches of private language center—Australian Centre for Education (ACE). Approximately 7 teachers among

the participants who have already filled in the questionnaires were invited for the online interview. The online

interview repeatedly mentioned lasted around 15 minutes and were conducted through either Facebook video

or voice call. In that one-to-one interview, English language was primarily used and voice recorder was also

used to record the answers from each participant. The answers collected were transcribed verbatim and

grouped into specific themes that are supposed to correspond to the research questions addressed in this

study. Last but not very least, starting from the mid of July to August 2017, data interpretation, analysis, and

discussion were the main tasks in this third phase. Most importantly, the whole study was expected to be

properly done in this phase as well.

4.4 Online questionnaire and Main Online Interview Questions

The designed online questionnaire will be divided into three different sections. There are 14 questions

which are constructed and aimed to respond back to the three main research questions. The sections are

divided as follow:

- The first section, with seven questions, is the section that contains general questions concerning the

academic background of the teachers participating in the study.


14
- The second section, with 3 questions, is the section which is comprised of detailed questions about

teachers’ familiarity with the games and their purposes of using games in the class.

- The third, which is also the last section, mainly focuses on participants’ grading value on effectiveness

of the games as teaching tools, and their grading value on less important or most important criteria of

the games before they are chosen to be used in the class.

Besides the online questionnaire, the online interview is counted as another important means for data

collection in this study. The following main interview questions which are believed to lead to the anticipated

results are listed below:

1. Since you have ever used or included language games in your lesson when you are teaching young

children, would you mind sharing the reasons why you decided to do so?

2. When it comes to teaching English language to young children, do you think that it is an effective

technique to use games in the classroom? Why or why not?

3. Of all the games you have used or have considered using, would you mind telling what aspects of

those games do you look at before using them in your classroom?

4.5 Data Analysis

As stated in the above section regarding data collection, since two different types of methodology were

used, it indicates that two different types of data—quantitative type of data and qualitative type of data—were

also received. Therefore, the data collected from both the online questionnaires and the online interviews were

used to analyze and explore the teachers’ primary purpose of using games when it comes down to teaching

English language to young children. In addition to this, the data were analyzed to make the most valid

assumption concerning the teachers’ perception on effectiveness of the games as a teaching technique. The

collected data were also further used to figure out exploratory criteria or factors of the games that the

teachers of English language consider or take into consideration before they are chosen to be used in a

particular classroom of young children.

In the case of analyzing, the collected data from online questionnaires was exported to SPSS program.

Since the online questionnaire was employed to explore factors or constructs such as teachers’ primary

purpose of using games, their perceptions on games’ effectiveness and their consideration on games’ aspects,

reliability analysis tests were performed to ensure a correct level of internal consistency within the items or

questions which were formed to measure each construct. Besides that, other analytical tests were also run to
15
obtain the measures of central tendency results. The intention of running these tests was to acquire summary

statistics which enabled the researcher to describe and identify the central positions or averages of the

answers gathered from the participants.

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CHAPTER 5

Data Analysis and Results

This chapter comprises of data analysis as well as results of the responses collected through the online

questionnaires and online interviews. The analysis is divided into 2 sections: Quantitative Data Analysis and

Qualitative Data Analysis. For quantitative data analysis section, with the intention of attaining the most

reliable and valid results, after receiving responses from the online questionnaires completed by 27 teachers

of English language from 3 campuses of Australian Centre for Education (ACE), the researcher has decided to

export all the data to SPSS program to run the analysis. On the other hand, for qualitative data analysis

section, after accumulating data from interviews with 7 teachers, verbatim responses and comments will be

reported.

5.1 Quantitative Data Analysis

5.1.1 Purposes of Using Games in English Language Class of Young Children

In regards to seeking teachers’ primary purpose of using games in their English language teaching class of

young children, five main choices of purpose are presented for the teachers to rate on the average of five-

point Likert scales (1=Strongly disagree, 2=Disagree, 3=Neutral, 4=Agree, and 5=Strongly agree). In order

to ensure that the five main choices are measuring the ‘purposes of using games’ construct, a test of reliability

analysis was performed by the researcher. Based on Table 2, it is proved that the scale received a good level

of internal consistency, as determined by a Cronbach’s alpha of 0.703.

Table 2

Reliability Statistics of Teachers’ Purpose of Using Games Construct

Cronbach's Alpha N of Items


0.703 5

According to a table of descriptive statistics (See Table 3), it can be seen that the first choice of purpose

which is “Young children’s attention span is short, so I have decided to use language games to keep them in

17
focus and have fun at the same time.” received the highest score (m=4.44, sd=0.58). Since the standard

deviation of this choice also appears to be the smallest, an additional indication is that it is more consistent

than the other choices. On the other hand, the table further shows that, opposite from the first choice, the

fifth choice received the lowest score (m=3.33, sd=1.04) compared to all choices provided. Therefore, it can

be included that the first choice of purpose which relates to keeping young students to have fun and learn at

the same time due to their short attention span is chosen as teachers’ primary purpose of using language

learning games in their classrooms.

Table 3

Teachers’ Purposes of Using Games in English Language Teaching Class of Young Children

N Mean SD
1.Young children’s attention span is short, so I have decided to
use language games to keep them in focus and have fun at the 27 4.44 0.58
same time.

2.I have decided to use games in the class as another way to


27 3.96 0.65
deliver standards-based content and assess young student
knowledge and skills after a formal lesson delivery.

3.I have decided to use games in the class just because they 27 3.41 0.84
are the perfect warming-up activities.

4.I have decided to use games in the class as a way to give 27 3.93 0.87
young students a break.

5.I have decided to use games in the class just because they 27 3.33 1.04
are the perfect time-filler activities.

Total Mean 3.81 0.54

5.1.2 Effectiveness of Using Games as a Teaching Technique

Teachers from three campuses of Australian Centre for Education (ACE) who used to teach and/or are

teaching English language to young children were asked again to rate their perceptions on the effectiveness of

18
using language learning games as a teaching technique in their classes on the average of five-point Likert

scales. Withholding the same purpose of ensuring the internal consistency within the items used to measure

this construct, 2 separate reliability tests were performed. The reason of performing 2 separate tests is

because the items listed under this construct were formed to represent two dimensions of meaning. After the

analyses, acceptable scores of internal consistency were received, and they are determined by Cronbach’s

alpha of 0.712 and 0.750 respectively (see Table 4 and Table 5).

Table 4

Reliability Statistics of Games’ Effectiveness Construct (Part1)

Cronbach's Alpha N of Items


0.712 2

Table 5

Reliability Statistics of Games’ Effectiveness Construct (Part 2)

Cronbach's Alpha N of Items


0.750 3

Based on Table 6, it has shown that the highest score of central tendency was received by option 3

(m=4.44. sd=0.58). The most reasonable interpretation of this is that most of the teachers agree that using

games is indeed an effective technique to use in young children’s classes, especially when they want to help

young children to experience learning and playing atmosphere at the same time. In contrast to option 3,

option 1 has indicated the lowest score (m=1.67, sd=0.62) which implies the disagreement of the teachers

over an idea stating that using games is an ineffective technique. Overall, it can be concluded that teachers

mostly agree that including language games in class is an effective technique to teach English language to

young children (m=4.33, sd=0.56).

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Table 6

Teachers’ Perception on Effectiveness of Using Language Learning Games

N Mean SD
1.Using language games in English language learning class is a
waste of time; thus, it’s not effective at all. 27 1.67 0.62

2.Using language games in English language learning class of


young children can only make them feel hyperactive; thus, they
27 2.04 1.09
do not learn anything.

3.Using language games in English language learning class can


help young children experience fun and gain knowledge of English 27 4.44 0.58
at the same time; thus, it is effective.

4.Language games encourage creativity and spontaneous usage


of language. They match with young children’s characteristics, so
27 4.33 0.56
they enable young children to use the target language (English)
right away instead of worrying about making mistakes; therefore,
it is effective.

5.Language games foster participatory attitude of young children.


The fact that young children try to participate in the games will 27 4.11 0.58
also make them try to produce the target language (English), so
it is effective.

Total Mean 4.33 0.56

5.1.3 Main Factors/Aspects of Games Considered by Teachers

In order to obtain the information about important factors or aspects considered by teachers before using

any particular games in their classrooms, three main factors were provided to the teachers to rate on the 4

rating scales (1=Not important, 2= Somewhat important, 3=Important, and 4=Very important). The three

main factors includes value of language learning games, learning issues, and teachers relatedness. Taking a

look at Table 7, it can be seen that among the three main factors, the first main factor/aspect—value of

language learning games—appeared to receive the highest score (m=2.81, sd=0.41). It was followed by the

20
third main factor/aspect—teachers relatedness (m=2.80, sd=0.45), and the lowest score was indicated by the

second main factor/aspect—learning issues (m=2.71, sd=0.48). The implication which could be drawn is that

teachers rated every main factor/aspect as almost equally important; however, among the 3 main factors, the

first main factor was viewed as the most important factor of all for the teachers to consider before they decide

to use any games in their language teaching classrooms of young children.

Table 7

Main Factors/Aspects Considered by Teachers When Choosing Language Learning Games

N Mean SD
Value of Language Games 27 2.81 0.41

27 2.71 0.48
Learning Issues

27 2.80 0.45
Teachers Relatedness

Total Mean 2.78 0.35

5.1.3.1 Value of Language Learning Games

Value of language learning games was presented as the first main factor/aspect for teachers to

consider whenever they make a decision over which games they should use in their classrooms. This first

main factor consists of 8 sub-aspects. A Cronbach’s alpha score of 0.742, which shows a good level of

internal consistency within these 8 items, can be found below (see Table 8).

Table 8

Reliability Statistics of Value of Games Construct

Cronbach's Alpha N of Items


0.742 8

According to Table 9, it has shown that sub-aspect 1 which is, “Games will be used in the English

classes of young children if they fit with content, design, and objective .” illustrated the highest score

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(m=3.41, sd=0.64). It, thus, means that this sub-aspect was rated as the most relatively ‘very important’

aspect for the teachers to consider. Conversely, sub-aspect 6 which is, “Games will be used in the English

classes of young children if they have suitable strategy for winning.” received the lowest score (m=2.19,

sd=0.88). It can be inferred that even though this aspect is in a range of slight importance, it happens to

be the least important aspect of all compared to other sub-aspects.

Table 9

Value of Language Learning Games

N Mean SD
1.Games will be used in the English classes of young children
27 3.41 0.64
if they fit with content, design, and objective.

2.Games will be used in the English classes of young children 27 2.96 0.52
if they are challenging and engaging.

3.Games will be used in the English classes of young children 27 2.70 0.67
if they add variety and energy.

4.Games will be used in the English classes of young children 27 2.85 0.72
if they have measurable results.

5.Games will be used in the English classes of young children 27 3.15 0.60
if they yield worthwhile amount of learning.

6.Games will be used in the English classes of young children 27 2.19 0.88
if they have suitable strategy for winning.

7.Games will be used in the English classes of young children 27 2.63 0.79
if they work with various numbers of players.

8.Games will be used in the English classes of young children 27 2.63 0.63
if they have a high fun facto.

Total Mean 2.81 0.41

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5.1.3.2 Language Learning Games and Learning Issues

The second main factor/aspect was included to study how important a relation between language

learning games and learning issues is for the teachers to take into a consideration when selecting any games

to use in their classrooms. Another 8 sub-aspects/items were listed, and the scale had a high level of internal

consistency, as determined by a Cronbach’s alpha of 0.801 (see Table 10)

Table 10

Reliability Statistics of Learning Issues Construct

Cronbach's Alpha N of Items


0.801 8

According to Table 11, the sixth sub-aspect that states, “Language games will be used in the English

classes of young children if they provide social contact and group work.” scored the highest (m=3.15,

sd=0.72), and this consequently shows that teachers considered it as the most ‘important’ sub-aspect. In

comparison to the sixth sub-aspect, the seventh sub-aspect that states, “Language games will be used in the

English classes of young children if they have realistic complex experiences.” got the lowest score (m=2.15,

sd=0.90), which means that it was considered as the least ‘somewhat important’ sub-aspect.

Table 11

Language Learning Games and Learning Issues

N Mean SD
1.Language games will be used in the English classes of
27 3.07 0.62
young children if they repeat and reinforce key learning.

2.Language games will be used in the English classes of 27 2.41 0.64


young children if they give immediate feedback.

3.Language games will be used in the English classes of 27 2.89 0.64


young children if they provide safe practice of new skills.

23
4.Language games will be used in the English classes of 27 2.93 0.73
young children if they provide meaningful challenge.

5.Language games will be used in the English classes of


27 2.63 0.79
young children if they promote intense dialogue and
discussion.

6.Language games will be used in the English classes of 27 3.15 0.72


young children if they provide social contact and group work.

7.Language games will be used in the English classes of 27 2.15 0.90


young children if they have realistic complex experiences.

8.Language games will be used in the English classes of


27 2.48 0.85
young children if they have analysis, interpretation, and
reflection.

Total Mean 2.71 0.48

5.1.3.3 Teachers in relation to Language Learning Games

The third and last main factor/aspect was centered upon a relation between language learning games

and the teachers themselves. Different from the first and second main factors, the last main factor presents

only 7 sub-aspects/items, and a Cronbach’s alpha score of 0.701 that shows an acceptable level of internal

consistency within these items could be found in Table 12.

Table 12

Reliability Statistics of Teachers Relatedness Construct

Cronbach's Alpha N of Items


0.701 7

Based on the information provided by Table 13, an indication of the highest score was sub-aspect 4

(m=3.37, sd=0.57), which leads to an understanding that it was viewed as the most ‘important’ sub-aspect.

24
Sub-aspect 1, on the other hand, received the lowest score (m=2.30, sd=0.82). The indicated score reveals

that it was considered by the teachers as the least ‘somewhat important’ sub-aspect in this category.

Table 13

Teachers in relation to Language Learning Games

N Mean SD
1.Language games will be used by teachers of English in the
classes of young children if they have minimal advance 27 2.30 0.82
preparation.

2.Language games will be used by teachers of English in the


27 3.00 0.62
classes of young children if they fit time, space and cost
constraints.

3.Language games will be used by teachers of English in the 27 2.78 0.51


classes of young children if they fit teacher competencies.

4.Language games will be used by teachers of English in the 27 3.37 0.57


classes of young children if they are flexible and adaptable.

5.Language games will be used by teachers of English in the


27 2.96 0.76
classes of young children if they are non-disruptive to
surroundings.

6.Language games will be used by teachers of English in the 27 2.81 0.74


classes of young children if they are easy to transport.

7.Language games will be used by teachers of English in the


27 2.41 1.15
classes of young children if they are liked by the teachers
themselves.
Total Mean 2.80 0.45

5.1.3.4 Years of Teaching and Factors of Choosing Games

After each and every main factor/aspect considered by teachers when choosing any games to use in their

classes have been scrutinized thoroughly, one last final analysis was performed to explore a relationship

between teachers’ years of teaching and main factors of choosing games. According to Table 14, there were 3
25
groups of teachers with different years of teaching experience. To begin with, in the first group, teachers who

have experienced teaching from 1 to 3 years (m=2.79, sd=0.49) values “Teachers Relatedness” as the most

important factor for considering among the three main factors of choosing games. Next, the second group of

teachers with average years of teaching from 4 to 6 years (m=3.00, sd=0.35) appeared to consider that

“value of language games” is the most important factor for teachers when they decide to use any language

games in classes. Lastly, it illustrates that the third group in which teachers have experienced teaching from 7

to 10 years (m=3.21, sd=0.26) addressed ”Learning issues” as the main important factor for teachers to

consider before deciding to use any games in their classes.

Table 14

Years of Teaching in relation to Factors of Choosing Games

Value of Language
Learning Issues Teachers Relatedness
Years of Teachings Games
M SD M SD M SD

1year-3 years 2.69 0.40 2.66 0.52 2.79 0.49

4 - 6 years 3.00 0.35 2.64 0.38 2.89 0.39

7 - 10 years 3.00 0.50 3.21 0.26 2.67 0.46

Total 2.81 0.41 2.71 0.48 2.80 0.44

5.2 Qualitative Data Analysis

In total, there are 8 questions that were constructed to ask the teachers during the online interview in

order to obtain the answers which would logically respond to the main research questions. The 8 questions

being asked can be categorized into three major themes:

1. Purposes of using games in English language class of young children

2. Effectiveness of using games as a teaching technique

3. Main factors/aspects of games considered by teachers

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5.2.1 Purposes of Using Games in English Language Class of Young Children

When asked to provide in details regarding the purposes of using games in the English classes of young

children, many specific purposes were addressed. The most distinguished purposes can be found in the

following statements:

- There are quite many reasons why I’ve decided to use this kind of activity in my children and young

learner classes. First is that, it makes learning enjoyable for them and it’s also interesting because as

you know, children have a rather shorter attention span than adult learners, so you need something to

engage them, you need something fun so that they can learn and experience new things, and

understand a new lesson in a fun way, in a way that makes them more interested in learning.

- I think that those games that I’ve used give students a break like after a long period of learning. They

can have fun and they can enjoy playing with their friends.

- I used the games to test the students’ understanding of the lesson.

- There are three purposes which I have tried to mention here: one because of the boring lessons, two

to encourage a sense of accomplishment, and three to encourage motivation.

- I used games to build a good rapport between the students and teacher.

5.2.2 Effectiveness of Using Games as a Teaching Technique

Teachers, who were selected as the interview participants, were further asked to share their personal

points of view on whether or not they think that games are effective tools to use when teaching English

language to young children. Below is the report of the opinions expressed by most teachers:

- It has been very effective in my experience because of the reason I have said earlier which is related

to the nature of the children that they want to have fun after a long lesson and it’s related to the fact

that they have short attention span, so they might not feel all comfortable with the traditional

learning. They need something outside the textbook. They need something especially prepared for

them so that they can develop interest in the lesson.

- To me the best language production activity is the games. It’s like we try to give students more

control on their own learning. So, overall, I think using games is an effective technique.

- It’s very effective because as you know, students learn more when they use more senses. Aside from

asking them to write and to see what we have told them and then ask them to remember, if we ask

27
them to play games, they will have a chance to move around so it can improve their memories, and

it’s a way of exercising as well.

- I do agree that using games in young children classes is really good because of the nature of leaners.

However, I think that there should be an appropriate amount of games in class. Not too much and not

too little as well. It’s best to make sure that the games which are used have to have clear purposes.

Are they used to have fun or to challenge the students? Are they educational? Do they involve

teamwork, or something like this?

- I think that it’s actually an effective technique to use games in classroom, especially the classroom

that contains like children as learners because kids are quite active, so games have stimulated their

brain and creativity because they can’t just sit there and listen to you all the time.

- They like to have fun and learn at the same time so games are actually the perfect activities.

5.2.3 Main Factors/Aspects of Games Considered by Teachers

Since all the selected participants were teachers who are experienced in using games, they were

requested to answer the question regarding different factors or aspects of games that they would consider

before choosing any games to use in their classes. The following extracted statements are the responses

which include many important factors addressed by the teachers:

- I would not use games that are longer than 30 minutes because in each session that I teach, I would

get only 1 hour and 30 minutes and I think spending 1 hour for a game is too much, so I would spend

1 hour for the lesson and for the practice in class, and 30 minutes to actually test students their

understanding on the content by using games. 30 minutes is actually the maximum time that I would

spend on a game.

- Another thing is the duration of the games. If the games are supposed to take too long, I will have to

give a second thought as well before I use them.

- I make sure that the games that I use contain no complex instructions. As you know, when you teach

children, when you teach young learners, their level of language is actually not so high so you can’t

just use a game that contains like too much explanation or too much difficult words that they could

not understand, so you have to always use your gesture along and, of course, demonstrate how the

game is played, so simple instruction, as simple as possible would be desired here.

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- First of all, I look at the complexity of the games comparing to the level of the young students I want

to use them in.

- The last aspect is related to my understanding of the games because sometimes, when the teacher

doesn’t really understand the games, how can the teacher explain to the students.

- For the aspects, I think it would depend on the language point that I teach, for example, if I teach

vocabularies, then I will choose some certain games that depict the language point.

- The next thing is the relevance to the language learning of the lesson. So if the lesson is related to

vocabulary, I need to find the type of games like ‘slap the whiteboard’ or ‘Run and Write’ or

something, so I make sure that the games that I use are related to the lesson. If the lesson is related

to grammar such as ‘Relative clause’ or ‘Conditionals’, I will find some games related to it, for

example, ‘A story chain’. I cannot just use the games that are out of the topic.

- One more reason is that games should fit for both the students and the teacher’s characteristics. Let’s

say that the games in nature actually fit the students like being active, being challenging and so, but

then the teacher him or herself is not that kind of person so he or she wouldn’t want that much

enthusiasm from the students.

- The most important thing is it’s better if you can customize the games. For example, if or you learn

the language games from books or from internet or from other teachers, you can customize them by

changing the name of the characters in the games or making the games sound interesting or more

related to the students. I think it will boost up the effectiveness of the games as well as the purpose

we want to use them for like whether we want to focus on social skills or we want the students to

improve and practise more on the language points.

- I need to think about the safety. If I teach young children, safety is the first priority because if I just

use the games that are quite dangerous to them, I might get into trouble with the parents and the

boss.

- I also look at the dangers that the games might cause to my students because some games, you

know, for example, racing the ladders in which the students have to rush to the front and write the

word on the whiteboard. It’s quite physical and that can cause injuries to the students, so as a

teacher, you have to actually care about their physical well-beings as well.

29
- The next factor is about how fun it is to play the games in the class. If the game is not really

enjoyable, I might not use with my young children students. I’ll try to find the games that are

interesting and enjoyable first.

- Last but not least, since kids are actually very active, they like to play with each other. They are not

like adults, who would sit still, or they probably don’t talk to each other in an adult’s style so I make

sure that the games wouldn’t make them feel like they need to compete with one another too much or

else it would cause them to create a conflict which is not desirable at all, which is not the aim of the

game. It should let them learn, challenge of course, but not to the point that they can argue or they

can probably fight one another.

- And another thing is I have to make sure that the games are not too competitive because winning or

losing would mean a lot to certain students and I don’t want to upset my students.

- The second last criterion that I would look for is that it should not cause disturbance to the

neighboring classes, and it’s quite important because you don’t want your class to have fun and at the

same time let other classes suffer from your loud noise and all that.

- I’d like my students to play games that involve teamwork so that they can get to know their friends

better, and this will make the learning environment friendlier.

To conclude, the important factors reported above can be summarized in to specific categories which

can be found as follow:

- Time consumption of the games

- Complexity of the games’ instruction

- Complexity of the games compared to the students’ level

- Teachers’ understanding of the games

- Relevance of games to language content and skills targeted for students to learn

- Relevance of games to both teacher’s and students’ characteristics

- Flexibility of the games

- Safety of the young students

- Adequate level of fun

- Adequate level of competitiveness

- Level of chaos or disturbance caused by the games

- Teamwork
30
CHAPTER 6

DISCUSSION

This chapter aims to present the discussion which answers the three main research questions

addressed in this research from the beginning. The answers in this discussion part are presented as a

combination of the analysis and findings, which are primarily derived from the previous chapter, and the

responses collected through the online interview. Furthermore, the implications of the answers will be linked

to the literature review and will be proved whether or not the outcomes expected by the researcher have been

achieved in the conclusion chapter.

6.1 Discussing Main Research Questions

6.1.1 What is the language teachers’ primary purpose of using or including games in

their English language teaching classrooms of young children?

According to Table 3, which shows the statistical data about the teachers’ purposes of using games in

their English language teaching classrooms of young children, it points out that teachers mostly decide to use

games in order to keep the students in focus and have fun at the same time for they acknowledge the

naturally short attention span of their young students. Further explanations on this choice of purpose were

provided by most interview participants. In addition to this, one among those participants stated that:

There are quite many reasons why I’ve decided to use this kind of activity in my children and young learner

classes. First is that, it makes learning enjoyable for them and it’s also interesting because as you know, children

have a rather shorter attention span than adult learners, so you need something to engage them, you need

something fun so that they can learn and experience new things, and understand a new lesson in a fun way, in a

way that makes them more interested in learning.

The above finding and response have somehow connected to a statement that Northern Illinois

University addressed regarding the link between play and learning. The statement advocates that if

constructive play exists, it is confirmed that the children will expand their intelligence, their knowledge and

understanding of the world around them. Another advocacy was expressed by El Shamy (2001) who added
31
that the inclusion of games in the classroom is the means of providing learning atmosphere in which the

learning materials appear to be more interesting and exciting.

Overall, the most logical conclusion which can be drawn is that majority of teachers of English

language that used to teach and/or is teaching young children is reported to use games in their classes for

educational purposes. This result can also be a new highlight to the study of Yahoui (2012) who claimed that

although teachers in the school held different opinions about games, majority of them viewed games as an

educating strategy.

6.1.2 To what extend do language teachers think that games are effective tools for

teaching English language to young children?

The results presented in both ‘Quantitative Data Analysis’ (see Table 6) and ‘Qualitative Data Analysis

(see 5.2.2), show that teachers strongly agree that games are effective tools for teaching English language to

young children. The reason behind this perceived level of effectiveness can be inferred from the fact that

teachers’ primary purpose of using games and their understanding about young children’s characteristics as

learners are related. Since teachers understand that young children have rather short attention span and their

primary purpose of using games is to provide fun and focused learning at the same time, they appear to show

a high level of agreement on games as effective tools used to teach English language to young children. In

addition to matching with young children’s characteristics, language games have been voted to encourage

creativity and spontaneous usage of language. The emphasis upon this statement can be found through the

answer of one interviewee who said that:

I think that it’s actually an effective technique to use games in classroom, especially the classroom that contains

like children as learners because kids are quite active, so games have stimulated their brain and creativity because

they can’t just sit there and listen to you all the time.

Another interviewee added that:

To me the best language production activity is the games. It’s like we try to give students more control on their

own learning. So, overall, I think using games is an effective technique.

All in all, the positive results gained from the teachers regarding games are effective tools have

conclusively proved that the idea of Lee (1979) is true. According to Lee, most language games effectively
32
enable young students to use the language immediately without worrying about the correct form. He then

included that games should be used as central activity in the foreign language teaching program of young

learners (Lee, 1979). In addition to Lee’s opinion, Richard-Amato (1988) also believed that games are indeed

activities which can lower young learners’ anxiety and make them capable of acquiring new input

conveniently.

6.1.3 In teachers’ opinion, what are the important criteria of the games which should be

considered before using them in English language teaching classrooms of young

children?

As described in the previous chapter, in the hope of obtaining the answers to the third main research

question above, three main factors/aspects—value of language games, learning issues, and teachers

relatedness—were categorized and provided in advance for the teachers to place their perceived level of

importance.

6.1.3.1 Value of Language Games

For the first main factor, based on the statistical results in Table 9, among 8 sub-factors listed under

this category, the most important factor of games that teachers consider is related to the games’ relevance to

content, design and objective. This factor has been verbally supported by one of the interviewee who

explained that:

…and the next thing is the relevance to the language learning of the lesson. …I make sure that the games that I

use are related to the lesson. If the lesson is related to grammar such as ‘Relative clause’ or ‘Conditionals’, I will

find some games related to it, for example, ‘A story chain’. I cannot just use the games that are out of the topic.

This certain factor has simply reflected the explanation made by Khan (as cited in Hong, 2012). He

explained that before introducing any games into the class, teachers would try to confirm the aims of the

games that they want to use. In other words, the teachers would analyze whether the games aim to

introduce, activate, strengthen, or link to particular lesson or skills that they intend to teach in their classes in

the first place.

33
Nevertheless, there is only one sub-factor which appears to be the least important factor for

considering in this category, and it is related to whether or not the games have suitable strategy of winning. A

compelling reason behind this has been given by one interview participant who inserted that:

… and another thing is I have to make sure that the games are not too competitive because winning or losing

would mean a lot to certain students and I don’t want to upset my students.

One other participant also added that:

…I make sure that the games wouldn’t make they feel like they need to compete with one another too much or else

it would cause them to create a conflict which is not desirable at all, which is not the aim of the game. It should let them

learn, challenge of course, but not to the point that they can argue or they can probably fight one another.

6.1.3.2 Language Learning Games and Learning Issues

Regarding the learning issues, according to Table 11, one sub-factor was seen as the most important

factor considered by teacher under this category. This sub-factor centers upon the condition whether the

games provide social contact and group work or not. The proof of this factor being addressed as the most

important factor was provided by one interviewee who personally expressed that:

…I’d like my students to play games that involve teamwork so that they can get to know their friends better, and

this will make the learning environment friendlier.

This considered factor can be counted as a supportive agreement to what Villarroel (2005) stated

regarding how children learn English through play. She claimed that in the middle of many entertaining and

exciting ways to promote language learning, language learning games could be treated as the most perfect

way to encourage learning and help children develop their social skills simultaneously.

However, under the same category, the sub-factor which requires the teachers to consider about

realistic complex experiences was viewed as the least important aspect. The most reasonable explanation of

this result can be the fact that teachers understand the natural characteristics of young children as language

learners. While young children are active and daring enough to participate in game activities introduced by the

teachers, if the game activities require too much complicated thoughts and experiences, the children might

not be interested in involving. This is somehow related to the opinion expressed by Dunn (2011) who

believed that young children, compared to other types of learners, are the ones who tend to lose interest in

and become demotivated more quickly on activities which they find too difficult or boring for them.
34
6.1.3.3 Teachers in relation to Language Learning Games

Based on Table 13, which contains the results of the last main factor of choosing games, it reveals

that the most important factor for teachers to consider before using any particular games in their classes is

related to the games’ flexibility and adaptability. To prove its importance and make the idea behind this sub-

factor more convincing, an extract of response from one interview participant can be found below:

…and forth would be the flexibility of the games. It’s about whether or not that particular game can be used and

adapted to different situations in which I would like to use it.

Another participant described that:

The most important thing is it’s better if you can customize the games. For example, if you learn the language

games from books or from internet or from other teachers, you can customize them by changing the name of the

characters in the games or making the games sound interesting or more related to the students. I think it will

boost up the effectiveness of the games as well as the purpose we want to use them…

Centering upon games’ flexibility and adaptability, the above revelation and description have a

connection with a statement raised by Petrovic (2014). He believed that games are meant to be used and

adapted to the learning situations and the learners so that they fit to be an effective teaching tool.

Conversely, it is reported that among the 7 sub-factors listed under this category, the least important

aspect for teachers to take into consideration is related to minimal advance preparation of the games.

6.2 Theoretical Implications of the Study

In light of previous interpretation and discussion, the research indicates that it is quite common and

effective to use or include games in English language learning classes of young children. All things considered,

the following implications are offered.

IMPLICATION 1: It is true that teachers are the ones who are solely responsible for making a decision on any

activities that should be or should not be included in the classrooms; however, that decision is primarily based

on the certain characteristics of the learners. With young children, their natural way of learning in which

learning and playing are inseparable is the major priority for teachers to consider. That is why teachers tend

to opt for any educational activities, for example, games, which are capable of providing such learning

35
environment. Therefore, it is necessary that the school or institution in which those teachers are working

make an effort to create or produce more properly designed language learning games in advance for teachers.

IMPLICATION 2: Although teachers of young children have a tendency to use games as one of their central

activities in the classrooms, it does not mean that they attempt to indulge the students in fun without paying

attention to the students’ learning outcomes. Teachers are reported to consider many different factors before

deciding to use any games, and among those, the relevance of the games and teachers’ intended lesson

objectives or skills is confirmed as one of the most important factors of all. Teachers seem to always need to

ensure that the students are able to produce the target language and acquire particular skills after

participating in learning games. As a consequence, academic or program coordinator, teaching staffs, and

other supporting faculties should consider creating a formal assessment paper or document which helps

teachers evaluate whether or not their objectives and students’ learning production are met at the end.

IMPLICATION 3: Transferring the knowledge of language is not the only goal that Teachers of young children

wish to accomplish. Teachers also take young children’s physical and emotional well-beings into special

consideration. Teachers appear to think that when teaching young children, not only do they teach the

children about the language, but they also teach the children about morals and social-life skills.

6.3 Significance of the Study

In relation to the context of the study (Cambodian context), this study would be significantly viewed as an

evidence to the reasons why games are chosen to use in the language classroom by the teachers.

Furthermore, this study would also be considered as the driving force in the creation of professional

development program or session in which teachers will be guided on how to choose appropriate games to use

in their class as well as the creation of game assessment checklist for the teachers. Lastly, the findings in this

study would act as proofs to convince other teachers ( specifically those who teach young children) who still

adopt traditional style of teaching to start considering using games in their classrooms to fit with student’s

interest as well as improve student’s learning.

36
6.4 Strengths and Limitations of Research Instruments

6.4.1 Strengths and Limitations of Online Questionnaire

As repeatedly mentioned in research methodology section, in respect to the first stage (quantitative

study), online questionnaire is selected as the main means of data collection. The decision of this selection is

because online questionnaire can be, needless to say, conducted remotely. The fact that it can be conducted

remotely helps reduce and prevent geographical dependence. It helps the researcher make use of the internet

ability which can provide access to any groups or individuals who are not possible to reach directly face-to-

face. Time-saving is also considered as strength of online questionnaire. Once it is created and the invitation

to participate in the questionnaire is sent, the researcher is able to receive responses from great numbers of

people in a short amount of time. In addition to this, the online questionnaire also saves time for the

researcher in terms of allowing them to work on other task or project while collecting data for the research

simultaneously. Nevertheless, the limitations of the online questionnaire cannot be overlooked. For starters, it

is difficult for the researcher to control and reach the targeted numbers of participant. The decision to

complete the questionnaire is solely based on the willingness of the participants. If they are not willing to

participate, they will reject the invitation and the researcher might not be able to acquire the adequate

responses for the analysis. Another drawback is related to the fact that the respondents might not feel

encourage to provide honest and accurate answers for they do not want to risk presenting themselves in an

unfavorable manner. As a consequence, this fact will make the researcher incapable of reporting valid results.

6.4.2 Strengths and Limitations of Online Interview

In addition to the online questionnaire, online interview is selected as means of data collection in the

second stage (qualitative study). Not distinctly different from online questionnaire, the major strengths of

online interview are time-saving and cost-saving; however, in this sense, the strengths refers to the absence

of commute and place arrangement. Through online interview, both the interviewer and the interviewee do

not need to arrange a specific place to meet and they do not need travel, which allow them to save time and

money accordingly. Convenience is also a great strength of online interview. Almost each and everyone these

days own a computer and that makes it easier for both parties (interviewer and interviewee) to go online and

conduct an interview at any preferable or agreed time and place. Nonetheless, one serious limitation of online

interview should be included and raised to remind the researcher about the risks of using this method. The

limitation is in relation to connectivity issue; for example, good internet connection cannot be guaranteed all

37
the time. This will, as a result, affect and disrupt the flow of the interview, which leads to the loss of

information or content being recorded during the interview. It is true that a request to repeat the answer can

be made; however, if the disruption repeatedly occurs and the requests are reiteratively made, both parties

will experience frustration and will eventually decide to stop the interview.

6.5 Limitations of the Study

Although the study has achieved its intended purposes, it is best to mention that this study possesses

major limitations. The limitations are related to the context and sample of the study. This study was

specifically conducted in the campuses of private foreign language center in Cambodia only; therefore, the

designation of the study was mainly based on the conditions of that particular center. Additionally, even

though the results were interpreted in a way which shed light on a general perspective of teachers on

language learning games, the results were pooled from limited numbers of teachers; thus, posing a risk of

generalization. On account of witnessing the aforementioned limitations, the following suggestions are hereby

made:

- Supposing there was a future research conducted on this topic, the context of the research would

need to be broadened. That prospective research should be carried out in various English language

institutions in Cambodia so that the results would not biasedly benefit to only one institution.

- The sample size of the research would also need to be enlarged in order to avoid making a

sweeping generalization.

- Besides studying the perceptions of teachers towards the use of games in English language

teaching classrooms, further research should also be conducted to study and observe young

children’s interest and motivation in participating in language learning games.

38
CHAPTER 7

CONCLUSION

The original purposes of this research were intended to study the primary purpose formed by

Cambodian teachers who choose games as one of their teaching techniques as well as their perceptions on the

effectiveness of using games when teaching English language to young children. The two purposes also

further led to an exploration and understanding about important factors or aspects considered by the

teachers, who used to and/or are teaching English language to young children, before they decide to use any

particular games in their classrooms.

After in-depth analysis and discussion, the findings and results point towards the achievement of

results expected by the researcher. To begin with, it is true that teachers’ primary purpose of using games in

the teaching classroom of young children is based on educational purposes, and it is not because they regard

games as just warm-up or time-filler activities. In addition, the majority of teachers who have been proved to

use games are revealed to highly value games as effective tools to use when teaching English to young

children. Lastly, depending on important criteria of choosing games addressed by the teachers, a reasonable

inference is that the appropriate games for young children should be the games which are mostly designed

with capabilities to achieve lesson objectives, to provide group work skills, to provide adequate level of

flexibility and adaptability, and as a consequence, to enable young students to produce the target language

,namely English language, in a fun as well as an enjoyable way.

In conclusion, this research can be kept as a substantial evidence to convince teachers who still

practise conventional and serious style of teaching to start considering and changing their technique to the

one that suits the characteristics of their young students so that the students’ learning performance can be

improved. Positive points of view on games which are reported in this research can also be used to encourage

and motivate teachers to believe that language learning games are one of the perfect activities for young

children when teaching them foreign language such as English. Another profound significance of this research

also lies in the fact that it can lead to a creation of checklist or guiding list for the teachers to assess the

games that they have used or have considered using in their language teaching classroom of young children.

39
References

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Learners (pp. 1-10). Cambridge University Press.

Chen, I.-J. (2005, February ). Using Games to Promote Communicative Skills in Language Learning. Retrieved
January 23, 2016, from The Internet TESL Journal: http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Chen-Games.html

Dunn, O. (2011). How young children learn English as another language. Retrieved January 23, 2016, from
Learn English Kids: http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/en/parents/articles/how-young-children-
learn-english-another-language

El-Shamy, S. (2001). Training Games: Everything You Need to Know About Using Games to Reinforce
Learning. Verginia: Stylus Publishing.

GTCFLA. (n.d.). Understanding Young Learners. Guangzhou: Guangdong Teachers College of Foreign
Language and Arts.

Harfield, J. (1990). Intermediate Communication Games. England: Longman.

Harfield, J. (1999). Beginners' Communication Games. Longman.

Hong, L. (2002). Using Games in Teaching English to Young Learners. The Internet TESL Journal.

Introduction to Games and Learning: Pre-reader. (n.d.). Retrieved March 8, 2016, from Institure of Play:
http://goo.gl/rinmyC

Kim, L. S. (1995, January-March). Creative Games for Language Class. Retrieved 1 2016, 22, from FORUM:
http://dosfan.lib.uic.edu/usia/E-USIA/forum/vols/vol33/no1/P35.htm

Lee, W. R. (1979). Language teaching games and contests. Oxford University Press, 1979.

Malarcher, M. M. (1997, October-December). Index Cards: A Natural Resource for Teachers . Retrieved
January 22, 2016, from FORUM: http://dosfan.lib.uic.edu/usia/E-USIA/forum/vols/vol35/no4/p42.htm

Marzano, R. J. (2010, February ). The Art and Science of Teaching / Using Games to Enhance Student
Achievement. Retrieved January 22, 2016, from ASCD: Educational Leadership:
http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/feb10/vol67/num05/Using-Games-to-
Enhance-Student-Achievement.aspx

NIU. (n.d.). Northern Illinois University . Retrieved January 27, 2016, from The Link Between Play and
Learning: http://www.niu.edu/ccc/curriculum/play_learning.shtml

Petrovic, E. P. (2014). Games in the Language Classroom-To Play is to Learn. Retrieved January 24, 2016,
from https://goo.gl/Llyzfp

Richard-Amato, P. A. (1988). MAKING IT HAPPEN: INTERACTION IN THE SECOND LANGUAGE CLASSROOM:


FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE. New York: Longman, 1988.

Roth, G. (1998). Action Games. In G. Roth, Teaching Very Young Children. Richmond Publishing, 1998.

Sambanis, M. (2015, February ). LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS AND FORMS OF LEARNING: LANGUAGE


LEARNING GAMES. Retrieved March 8, 2016, from GOETHE INSTITUT:
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Saricoban, A., & Metin, E. (2000, October). Songs, Verse and Games for Teaching Grammar. Retrieved
January 24, 2016, from The Internet TESL Journal: http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Saricoban-Songs.html

Sigurðardóttir, S. D. (2010). The use of games in the language classroom. 1-42.

Stirling, D. (2013, June 27). Games As Educational Tools: Teaching Skills, Transforming Thoughts. Retrieved
January 22, 2016, from INFORMATION SPACE: http://infospace.ischool.syr.edu/2013/06/27/games-
as-educational-tools-teaching-skills-transforming-thoughts/

Uberman, A. (1998, January-March). The Use of Games For Vocabulary Presentation and Revision. Retrieved
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Villarroe, D. (2015, February 26). How young children learn English through play. Retrieved January 23, 2016,
from BRITISH COUNCIL: https://www.britishcouncil.org/voices-magazine/how-young-children-learn-
english-through-play

Yahoui, N. (2012). The Effectiveness of Language Games in Improving Learners’ Vocabulary. Biskra:
University of Biskra.

41
APPENDIX 1

Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences


Master of Science in Educational Sciences
Boulevard de la Plaine 2, 1050 Ixelles
Brussels, Belgium
Phone: (+32) 2 629 2010
Web: http://www.vub.ac.be

Letter of Data Collection Request

Research title: Using Games to Teach Young Children English Language

Research setting: Australian Centre for Education (ACE), Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Researcher: Sochetra Hang

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Chang Zhu

Dear Sir,

My name is Sochetra Hang, and I am a Master of Educational Sciences student at Vrije Universiteit Brussel
(VUB) in Belgium. I am writing this with the purpose of sharing with you the research I wish to conduct for my
master’s thesis which involves using games to teach young children English language. This research study will
be conducted under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Chang Zhu who is a director of Online and Blended Learning
Competence Centre at VUB.

I am hereby seeking your permission to allow me to conduct my research at your institutions, and your
approval will be greatly appreciated. This study of mine has been approved by Department of Psychology and
Education (PE) of Vrije Universitiet Brussel. The purposes of this study are to observe the purposes formed by
teachers of English who choose games as their teaching technique and their opinion on games’ effectiveness,
and last but not least, to enrich a profound understanding about teachers’ consideration over what makes
games appropriate to be used when teaching English language to young children.

In order to complete this study, I have decided to apply mixed methodologies in which online questionnaires
and online interviews will be used. If approval is granted, the online questionnaires, which will take
approximately 10 minutes, will be sent out and completed by teachers of English in your institutions. After a
completion of the online questionnaire, 9 to 10 of the participants will be randomly selected to join an
individual online interview which will last around 20 minutes.

Allow me to explain you the substantial benefits which will be brought about to your institutions given that the
permission to conduct my study is granted. As one of the most well-known English language centres in
Cambodia, it is important to retain this immense popularity by ensuring an excellent teaching quality and an

42
outstanding performance of the learners. Supposing my study reveals a consuming interest of the teaching
staffs in using games to improve the young learners’ learning outcomes, this study will be considered as the
driving force in the creation of a professional development program or session in which teachers will be guided
on how to use learning games effectively and efficiently in their classrooms. In addition to this, the finding in
this study will also act as a proof to convince other teachers, especially those who teach young children and
still adopt traditional style of teaching, to start considering using games in their classrooms to fit with
student’s interest as well as improve student’s learning.

I would like to assure you that results of the study will be pooled for the thesis project only and the individual
results of this study will remain absolutely confidential and anonymous. Should this study be published, only
pooled result are going to be documented; therefore, no cost will be incurred by either your school or the
individual participants.
Your institutions and, specifically teaching staffs in your institutions will be a great help for this study, and I
will be grateful if you grant me a permission to do so. I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Thank you so much for your time and kind consideration in this matter. I hope you have a pleasant day.

Best Regards,

Sochetra Hang

Cell phone: +32 484 41 8670

Email: hang.sochetra@vub.be

realsochetra.hang@gmail.com

43
APPENDIX 2

Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences


Master of Science in Educational Sciences
Boulevard de la Plaine 2, 1050 Ixelles
Brussels, Belgium
Phone: (+32) 2 629 2010
Web: http://www.vub.ac.be

Using Games to Teach Young Children English Language

My name is Sochetra Hang, and I am a student majoring in Master of Educational Sciences at Vrije Universiteit
Brussel (VUB) in Belgium. It is agreat honor to share with you the research I wish to conduct for my Master’s
thesis which involves using games to teach young children English language. The purposes of this study are to
observe the purposes formed by teachers of English who choose games as their teaching technique, to
observe their perception towards the inclusion of games in their language teaching classroom, and last but not
least, to enrich a profound understanding about teachers’ consideration over what makes games appropriate
to be used when teaching English language to young children (8 to 11 years old). I am hereby seeking your
participation in completing this online questionnaire which would take only 10 minutes of your time. Your
participation is going to be a great help and I would like to ensure you that results of the study will be pooled
for this thesis project only. The individual results of this study will remain absolutely confidential and
anonymous. Should this study be published, only pooled result are going to be documented; therefore, no
cost will be incurred by you as a participant at all. I would like to wholeheartedly thank you in advance and I
wish you all the best.

1. What is your gender?

Female

Male

2. What is your age?

18 to 24

25 to 34

35 to 44

45 or older

44
3. At which ACE working institution do you work?

ACE Samdach Pan

ACE Santhor Mok

ACE Tuol Tom Poung

4. About how many years have you been teaching English?

1 year - 3 years

4 - 6 years

7 - 10 years

10 years or more

5. How many days per week are you assigned to teach English to young children?

2 days per week

3 days per week

6. How many hours per day are you assigned to teach English to young children?

1 hour 30 minutes per day

2 hours 30 minutes per day

7. What materials do you usually use when you are teaching English to young children? (Note: You can

choose more than one answer.)

Textbook

Workbook/Exercise book

Extra lesson worksheets

Language learning games

Other (please specify)

45
8. It is said that 'Language games' are intended to improve language skills. How often do you include

language games in you lesson plan when you teach English to young children?

Never

Rarely

Sometimes

Usually

Always

9. Please list down any language games which you have ever known:

10. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements in relation to your purposes

of using games when teaching English language to young children?

Strongly Strongly
Disagree Neutral Agree
Disagree Agree

1. Young children’s attention span is short, so I have


decided to use language games to keep them
in focus and have fun at the same time.

2. I have decided to use games in the class as another


way to deliver standards-based content and
assess young student knowledge and skills after a
formal lesson delivery.

3. I have decided to use games in the class just


because they are the perfect warming-up activities.

4. I have decided to use games in the class as a way


to give young students a break.

5. I have decided to use games in the class just


because they are the perfect time-filler activities.

46
11. Please display level of your agreement or disagreement on the following statements:

Strongly Strongly
Disagree Neutral Agree
Disagree Agree

1. Using language games in English language learning


class is a waste of time; thus, it’s not effective at all.

2. Using language games in English language learning


class of young children can only make them feel
hyperactive; thus, they do not learn anything

3. Using language games in English language learning


class can help young children experience fun and gain
knowledge of English at the same time; thus, it is
effective.

4. Language games encourage creativity and


spontaneous usage of language. They match with
young children’s characteristics, so they enable young
children to use the target language (English) right
away instead of worrying about making mistakes;
therefore, it is effective.

5. Language games foster participatory attitude of


young children. The fact that young children try to
participate in the games will also make them try to
produce the target language (English), so it is
effective.

12. Regarding the value of language games, they will be used in the English classes of young children if they:

Not Somewhat Very


Important
Important Important Important

1. fit with content, design, and objective.

2. are challenging and engaging.

3. add variety and energy.

4. have measurable results.

5. Yield worthwhile amount of learning.

6. have suitable strategy for winning.

7. work with various numbers of players.

8. have a high fun facto.

47
13. Regarding learning issues, language games will be used in the English classes of young children if they:

Not Somewhat Very


Important
Important Important Important

1. repeat and reinforce key learning.

2. give immediate feedback.

3. provide safe practice of new skills.

4. provide meaningful challenge.

5. promote intense dialogue and discussion.

6. provide social contact and group work.

7. have realistic complex experiences.

8. have analysis, interpretation, and reflection.

14. Language games will be used by teachers of English in the classes of young children if they:

Not Somewhat Very


Important
Important Important Important

1. have minimal advance preparation.

2. fit time, space, and cost constraints.

3. fit teacher competencies.

4. are flexible and adaptable.

5. are non-disruptive to surroundings.

6. are easy to transport.

7. are liked by the teachers themselves.

48
APPENDIX 3

Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences


Master of Science in Educational Sciences
Boulevard de la Plaine 2, 1050 Ixelles
Brussels, Belgium
Phone: (+32) 2 629 2010
Web: http://www.vub.ac.be

Using Games to Teach Young Children English Language


(Teachers’ purposes in and their perception on using language games
when teaching English language to young children)

Date of Interview: ______________

Online Interview Questions

1. Have you ever heard of or are you familiar with the term ‘language learning games’?

2. In your own words, how do you define ‘language learning games’?

3. In general, what do you think of an idea of integrating or including language games in English

language teaching class?

4. Personally, since you are teaching young children, have you ever included or have you ever thought of

including language games in your classroom?

5. And, how often do you use or include games in your teaching classroom?

6. Would you mind sharing the reasons why you have decided to use games in the classroom?

7. When it comes to teaching English language to young children, do you think that it is an effective

technique to use games in the classroom? Why or why not?

8. Of all the games you have used or have considered using, would you mind telling what aspects of

those games do you look at before using them in your classroom?

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APPENDIX 4
Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences
Master of Science in Educational Sciences
Boulevard de la Plaine 2, 1050 Ixelles
Brussels, Belgium
Phone: (+32) 2 629 2010
Web: http://www.vub.ac.be

Interview Transcripts

Interview Transcript of the 1st Interviewee

Date of Interview: 24/06/2017

Interviewer = I.ER
Interviewee = I.EE

I.ER: Good evening, miss!

I.EE: Good evening!

I.ER: Thank you for spending your time participating in this interview. My name is Sochetra, and I am a
master student in Educational Sciences at VUB, based in Belgium. The topic of our interview today is related
to using language learning games to teach English language to young children. Anyway, before we start, allow
me to inform you that the content of this interview will be recorded; however, I would like to assure you that
it will remain confidential and it will be used for educational purposes such as the master thesis which I am
currently working on only. Alright, without further ado, let’s begin our interview. Are you ready, miss?

I.EE: Yes, I am.

I.ER: Okay, so the first question from me is, have you ever heard of or are you familiar with the term
‘language learning games’ before?

I.EE: Yes, yes, I have.

I.ER: So, in your own words, would you mind defining ‘language learning games’?

I.EE: So, in my opinion, ‘language learning games’ are actually the use of fun and engaging activities that
either directly or indirectly allow students to understand or practise a particular language topic or language
lesson.

I.ER: Yes, thank you. So let’s move on to the next question. What is your opinion or what do you think of an
idea of integrating or including language games in English language teaching class?

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I.EE: I think the idea of incorporating language games in English language teaching class is pretty useful and
fun for student because in class, you can’t be always serious and learn through the same method again and
again, so you need something fun and different once in a while.

I.ER: Yes, that’s insightful. Okay, since you’ve experienced teaching young children, have you ever included
or have you ever thought of including language games in your classroom?

I.EE: Yes. When I was teaching children and young learners, I did use a lot of games in those classes more
than the ones that I used in adult language class.

I.ER: Alright, since you said that you’ve used them before, how often do you use or include those games in
your teaching classroom?

I.EE: Basically, I would get around 2 to 3 sessions for either children class or young learner class in a week,
than I would use games 1 to 2 times per week in each class.

I.ER: Ahh, I see. Thanks. Let’s go to the next question. Would you mind sharing the reasons why you have
decided to use games in your classroom?

I.EE: Yes, there are quite many reasons why I’ve decided to use this kind of activity in my children and young
learner classes. First is that, it makes learning enjoyable for them and it’s also interesting because as you
know, children have a rather shorter attention span than adult learners, so you need something to engage
them, you need something fun so that they can learn and experience new things, and understand a new
lesson in a fun way, in a way that makes them more interested in learning. Secondly, using games is actually
an effortless experience for students to learn a language like English. Also it brings fun to both the teacher
and the students. So actually when playing games, both parties will get to engage with one another, and they
get to get closer with each other so it makes classes less tense and more enjoyable. Also, this can get them
excited and look forward to the new class or new lesson with the teacher. Another reason is that sometimes
there are some lessons that are short or some are quite long. For short lessons, I would use games like a
quick game or an easy game to fill in the time that is remaining from those short lessons so that the students
won’t be skipping around, looking at their watch, or getting bored. Yes, so that is one of the reasons that I
used game in my class. Last but not least, when you introduce games to the class, for example, the class that
you have taught for one or two times, it’s actually good to practise a game because so that the students and
their classmates get to know each other, get to be closer so they can learn better when they feel comfortable
around each other because games can be done in either as individual or as in group, so group games will
engage them to learn from each other, to feel comfortable around each other, and it makes them feel at ease
when they need to share something because there are students that are very shy and if they know each
other, they’ll feel tense to express what they want to say. Actually, I’ve learned this from my own experience.
When I was in my language class, I would feel so shy that if I didn’t really know anyone well, I would not dare
to express much, and there are kids that are actually like this too. Yes, I think that’s all from me for this
question.

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I.ER: Okay, thank you. Now, allow me to ask you another question. When it comes to teaching English
language to young children, do you think that it is an effective technique to use games in the classroom? If
you think so, why? And if you don’t think so, why not?

I.EE: Yes, in my opinion, I think that it’s actually an effective technique to use games in classroom, especially
the classroom that contains like children as learners because one thing is that their attention span, like I said
previously, is rather short, so you need something engaging; you need something interesting for them to pay
attention to. Also kids are quite active, so games have stimulated their brain and creativity because they can’t
just sit there and listen to you all the time, it will not activate their brain; it will not let them think of
something new on how to finish the games or how to win the games against their classmates. Also, they like
to have fun and learn at the same time so games are actually the perfect activities.

I.ER: Thank you. Now it comes down to the last question, so of all the games you have used or have
considered using, would you mind telling what aspects of those games do you look at before using them in
your classroom?

I.EE: Sure! I have quite many reasons why so please bear with me. One is that I would not use games that
are longer than 30 minutes because in each session that I teach, I would get only 1 hour and 30 minutes and
I think spending 1 hour for a game is too much, so I would spend 1 hour for the lesson and for the practice in
class, and 30 minutes to actually test students their understanding on the content by using games. 30
minutes is actually the maximum time that I would spend on a game. Second, I make sure that the games
that I use contain no complex instructions. As you know, when you teach children, when you teach young
learners, their level of language is actually not so high so you can’t just use a game that contains like too
much explanation or too much difficult words that they could not understand, so you have to always use your
gesture along and, of course, demonstrate how the game is played, so simple instruction, as simple as
possible would be desired here. Thirdly, for the teachers’ side, one thing is less preparation for them but still
manage for the students to have fun and learn simultaneously. Another criterion that I look for in games is
that they cannot be only used for one time but probably a few times without boring the students because
there is a limit to teachers’ imagination or creativity as well so you don’t want to use like a new game every
time. You might want to use the same game for several times until you think that it’s time to start something
new that you can switch to another game, or like you play game ‘A’ in one class and game ‘B’ in another class,
and then you can rotate. One more reason is that games should fit the language content being targeted for
students to learn and also fit for both the students and the teacher’s characteristics. Let’s say that the games
in nature actually fit the students like being active, being challenging and so, but then the teacher him or
herself is not that kind of person so he or she wouldn’t want that much enthusiasm from the students, and
that’s one of the criteria. The second last criterion that I would look for is that it should not cause disturbance
to the neighboring classes, and it’s quite important because you don’t want your class to have fun and at the
same time let other classes suffer from your loud noise and all that because you might not know what other
classes are doing, probably they are having an exam, probably they are practising something or listening to
something and they can’t hear really well. And last but not least, since kids are actually very active, they like
to play with each other. They are not like adults who would sit still, or they probably don’t talk to each other

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in an adult’s style so I make sure that the games wouldn’t make them feel like they need to compete with one
another too much or else it would cause them to create a conflict which is not desirable at all, which is not the
aim of the game. It should let them learn, challenge of course, but not to the point that they can argue or
they can probably fight one another. I think that’s all for this question. There are actually a lot of criteria from
me.

I.ER: No, no, they are actually excellent criteria. Is there anything else you want to add?

I.EE: No, not really, but if you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.

I.ER: Oh no, I think we’re good here and I think we have already come to an end of our interview today. Once
again, thank you so much for your time and I wish you a pleasant day.

I.EE: Thank you and good luck!


I.ER: Thanks!

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Interview Transcript of the 2nd Interviewee

Date of Interview: 27/06/2017

Interviewer = I.ER
Interviewee = I.EE

I.ER: Good evening, miss!

I.EE: Good evening!

I.ER: Yes, thank you so much for spending your time participating in this interview. My name is Sochetra, and
I am a master student in Educational Sciences at VUB, based in Belgium. The topic of our interview today is
related to using language learning games to teach English language to young children. Anyway, before we
start, allow me to inform you that the content of this interview will be recorded; however, I would like to
assure you that it will remain confidential and it will be used for educational purposes such as the master
thesis only. Alright, without further ado, let’s begin our interview. Are you ready?

I.EE: Yes!

I.ER: Okay, the first question from me is, have you ever heard of or are you familiar with the term ‘language
learning games’ before?

I.EE: Yes, I have.

I.ER: Okay, so in your own words, would you mind defining ‘language learning games’?

I.EE: So to me, language learning game, I will define it as a game or a fun activity that teachers select to
practise in language classrooms in order to encourage students to practise or to produce the language point
that they’ve learned in class, and also it’s used to practise the language point and also to have fun with the
students at the same time.

I.ER: Okay, thank you so much. The next question from me is, in general, what do you think of an idea of
integrating or including language learning games in English language teaching class?

I.EE: I think it is a very good idea to integrate games in the classrooms, especially in the children classes. As
you know that children learn best through fun and also the games and competitions or any activities related
encourage the students to work together as a team which is very important for their social life.

I.ER: Yes. Is that all?

I.EE: Yeah. I think that is all for this question.

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I.ER: Thank you. The next question is question number 4. Personally, I think since you’ve experienced
teaching young children, have you ever included or have you ever thought of including language games in
your classroom?

I.EE: Yeah. It would depend on the children but I sometimes include the language games in the classroom.

I.ER: Okay, so you sometimes include language learning games in your classroom. Then now let’s move on to
the next question. Well, I don’t think that I need to ask you about how frequently you use the games since
you already stated in your answer of the previous question, so my next question is, would you mind sharing
the reasons why you have decided to use games in the classroom?

I.EE: Just like I said in question number 3, there are some reasons that I use the language games. The first is
about giving fun to the students, especially with the children, because when you teach, you cannot just teach
and teach and teach, and do the exercises. Sometimes, you need to use something fun in order to encourage
them to practise and to do better with the language point, and also as we know that children have a short
attention span, so games are very good for them because they learn through fun. Therefore, when they play
games, they would try to engage as much as possible because the children like fun and the children are very
competitive, so games can be used as competitions or activities that we use to have the children produced the
language point and also competed with each other at the same time. Also, I think it’s very good for the
children because when we play games in class, they are quiet to support each other to work together as a
team, and this one is very important because when you work together as a team, you learn how to collaborate
and how to work together. I think it’s very important for the social life.

I.ER: Okay, thank you. That is very insightful and interesting. Now, allow me to ask you the next question.
When it comes to teaching English language to young children, do you think that it is an effective technique to
use games in the classroom? If you think so, why? And if you don’t think so, why not?

I.EE: I think it’s effective to use the games in the classroom but it would depend on the type of the games
that you choose. For example, some people would just play games to have fun and to kill the time, but some
teachers use the games in order to encourage the students to practise the language point and sometimes they
use the games as stirring activities, for example, when the students feel bored or when they feel tired, then
you can be flexible by changing the activities that you selected and choosing games as the next activity in
order to make them happy and practise more.

I.ER: Alright, thank you so much. The last question from me today is, of all the games you have used or have
considered using, would you mind telling what aspects of those games do you look at before using them in
your classroom?

I.EE: For the aspects, I think it would depend on the language point that I teach. For example, if I teach
vocabularies, then I will choose some certain games that depict the language point. For example, ‘Back to the
board, because this game, we use to test the memory and to test the understanding of the language.
Sometimes, you can also use ‘Four stations’ or ‘Bidding sentences’ when you want to teach grammar, so the

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language games are chosen based on the language point or based on the skills. Therefore, when I choose the
games, I will just select based on the skills or the language point that I plan to teach them.

I.ER: Okay, is there anything else you would like to add?

I.EE: Oh, I think that is all from me.

I.ER: Alright, thank you so much. I think that we already come to the end of our interview today. Once again,
thank you and I wish you a pleasant evening.

I.EE: My pleasure.

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Interview Transcript of the 3rd Interviewee

Date of Interview: 03/07/2017

Interviewer = I.ER
Interviewee = I.EE

I.ER: Good evening, miss!

I.EE: Good evening!

I.ER: Thank you for agreeing to participate in this interview. My name is Sochetra, and I am a master student
in Educational Sciences at VUB, based in Belgium. The topic of our online interview today is related to using
language learning games to teach English language to young children. Anyway, before we start, please allow
me to inform you that the content of this interview will be recorded; however, I would like to assure you that
it will remain confidential and it will be used for educational purposes such as the master thesis which I am
currently working on only. Alright, without further ado, let’s begin our interview. Are you ready?

I.EE: Yes, I am.

I.ER: The first question of our interview today is, have you ever heard of or are you familiar with the term
‘language learning games’ before?

I.EE: Yes, I have heard of it.

I.ER: If you have heard about, would you mind, in your own words, defining ‘language learning games’?

I.EE: Okay. I think ‘language learning games’ are educational games that are related to language learning
skills like grammar, vocabulary, writing, and so on.

I.ER: Alright, thank you. So the next question from me is, in general, what do you think of an idea of
integrating or including language learning games in English language teaching class?

I.EE: I think this is a great idea because we can get a lot of benefits in including games in our classroom
because students, not only young children, but also adult learners, like and enjoy games while studying
because it can change a classroom environment a little bit after we have studied something quite stressful; for
example, grammar. So it’s great to include games after learning particular lesson.

I.ER: Thank you. One aside question from me, have you ever experienced teaching young children?

I.EE: Yes, yes, I have.

I.ER: That’s great. Then personally, since you have experienced teaching young children, have you ever
included or have you ever thought of including language games in your classroom?

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I.EE: Yes, I have included. Actually, I use games every session that I teach young children because I know
that young children like games. If we don’t have games for them, they will not enjoy the lesson. They simply
not engage with the lesson and they simply need to move a lot in the class. They like having different kinds of
activities so I always include games like before or after the main lesson.

I.ER: That’s interesting. This leads me to the next question. I want to ask you more specifically about your
reasons. Would you mind sharing the reasons why you have decided to use those games in the classroom?

I.EE: Yeah, like I mentioned earlier. I know that young children like games so I need to teach something that
caters to their needs and that’s why I use games. I also know that people cannot study something or pay
attention to something for more than 20 minutes and normally my classes are 1 hour and 30 minutes;
therefore, I need to make sure that my lesson is interesting to my students. I try to include a lot of activities
and make sure that each activity isn’t longer than 20 minutes and I make sure that everything that I do in the
class has a smooth transition and consists of different kinds of activity.

I.ER: Okay. I see. So when it comes down to teaching English language to young children, do you think that it
is an effective technique to use games in the classroom?

I.EE: Yeah, I think we should really use games in the classroom no matter how old the students are.

I.ER: Alright. I think the last question from me is that of all the games you have used or have considered
using, would you mind sharing or telling what aspects of those games do you look at before using them in
your classroom?

I.EE: I just want to clarify. Do you mean when I use any games, what are the factors that I need to consider?

I.ER: Yes, definitely.

I.EE: For me, firstly, I need to think about the safety. If I teach young children, safety is the first priority
because if I just use the games that are quite dangerous to them, I might get into trouble with the parents
and the boss. For example, if the games involve running around the class and moving the chairs, some
students might just go wild in the class and they bump into each other so I might not use those kinds of
games for very young children. The next factor is about how fun it is to play the games in the class. If the
game is not really enjoyable, I might not use with my young children students. I’ll try to find the games that
are interesting and enjoyable first. The next thing is the relevance to the language learning of the lesson. So if
the lesson is related to vocabulary, I need to find the type of games like ‘slap the whiteboard’ or ‘Run and
Write’ or something, so I make sure that the games that I use are related to the lesson. If the lesson is
related to grammar such as ‘Relative clause’ or ‘Conditionals’, I will find some games related to it, for
example, ‘A story chain’. I cannot just use the games that are out of the topic, and that’s what I mean. So far,
I think there are 3 points or factors that I consider. And the last thing that I consider or I just think about is
about the age or the type of the students. For example, if they are young children, I will use different kinds of
games from those I use with adult students because students have different kind of motivation and preference

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when they grow older so we cannot apply the same type of games with them. However, some games can also
be used with both young children and adult learners. I think that’s all from me.

I.ER: It’s very insightful and interesting to hear. Actually, I think we have already come to the end of our
online interview today. Once again, I would like to thank you so much for your time, and please have a nice
evening with your family.

I.EE: You’re very welcome. I am glad I could help.

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Interview Transcript of the 4th Interviewee

Date of Interview: 07/07/2017

Interviewer = I.ER
Interviewee = I.EE

I.ER: Good evening, miss!

I.EE: Good evening!

I.ER: Thank you for agreeing to participate in this online interview. My name is Sochetra and I am a master
student in Educational Sciences at VUB, based in Belgium. Allow me to introduce the topic of our interview
today which is related to using language learning games to teach English language to young children. Anyway,
before we start, I would like to inform you that the content of this interview will be recorded. I also would like
to assure you that it will remain confidential and it will be used for educational purposes such as the master
thesis which I am currently working on only. Alright, without further ado, let’s begin our interview. Are you
ready, miss?

I.EE: Yes, I am.

I.ER: The first question is, have you ever heard of or are you familiar with the term ‘language learning
games’?

I.EE: Well, I’ve got to say I have; however, at my workplace, we don’t really say ‘language learning games’.
We just say ‘games’. We refer to those which are used in the language class context.

I.ER: Oh, yes right. So in your words, would you mind defining ‘games in the language class context’ to which
you referred?

I.EE: Alright, I think I’ll define them as activities that involve fun and are also challenging.

I.ER: Then in general point of view, what do you think of an idea of integrating or including those games in
English language teaching class?

I.EE: I do think that it’s a great idea. You know for some games, they are not only fun, but also educational
and I think that games are good tools to live up the environment in the classroom. They can be used to create
friendly learning environment between teacher and students or between students and students. Sometimes,
games also help build students’ confidence as well.

I.ER: Alright. Then personally as a teacher, since you have experienced teaching young children, have you
ever included or have you ever thought of including the games in your classroom? If so, how often do you use
those particular games?

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I.EE: You know, I usually integrate games a lot in my young children teaching classes, especially at the end of
the lesson; for example, after grammar classes or after reading classes. And that’s because I use the games
to review and also to test how much they understand or how much they remember what they’ve learned.

I.ER: Since you have stated that you usually integrate games in your language teaching classroom, would you
please telling the reasons why you have decided to do so?

I.EE: I think that those games that I’ve used give students a break like after a long period of learning. They
can have fun and they can enjoy playing with their friends. And again, I used the games to test the students’
understanding of the lesson. I also think that for young children classrooms in which games are played a lot,
the students tend to get along better with each other, like they get to know each other more. Those students
also learn to work in team which is really good. So again, they’re used as a break; they’re used to test the
students, and they’re also used to help students build their network or teamwork in class.

I.ER: Okay, thank you! The next question from me is, when it comes to teaching English language to young
children, do you think that it is an effective technique to use games in the classroom? If you think so, why do
you think so? If you don’t, why not?

I.EE: I do agree that using games in young children classes is really good because of the nature of leaners.
Actually, their attention span is not really long, and it’s true that kids like games. However, I think that there
should be an appropriate amount of games in class. Not too much and not too little as well. It’s best to make
sure that the games which are used have to have clear purposes. Are they used to have fun or to challenge
the students? Are they educational? Do they involve teamwork, or something like this?

I.ER: Okay. Now, I would like to ask you another question. Of all the games you have used or have
considered using, would you mind telling what aspects of those games do you look at before using them in
your classroom?

I.EE: Yes, okay. Well, I use games in different situations; for example, sometimes at the end of the term or
sometimes after the grammar test or sometimes at the beginning of the lesson. At the beginning of the class,
I try to find games that are fun because I want to draw the students’ attention, so fun is one thing.
Sometimes, at the end of the grammar lesson or reading lesson, I’d like the students to play games that are
challenging and also educational because I want them to get something from the games, and also to test
them at the end of lesson as well. Sometimes, for example, at the beginning of the term, I’d like my students
to play games that involve teamwork so that they can get to know their friends better, and this will make the
learning environment friendlier. One more thing is that I also like to use games that are thrilling; for example,
they consist of timing and competitions which require students to compete with each other, and I find these
games really effective.

I.ER: I see. Okay, just one more question from me. Do you think it is a good idea for or would you
recommend all teachers to use games in their young children teaching classrooms?

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I.EE: Yes! I strongly recommend the teachers to use games in young children classrooms. However, it’s better
to be aware of some exceptional cases. Like in my case, in one class that I used to teach, there was that one
student who hates to play games in class. It doesn’t mean that the games don’t work. It was just that I finally
figured out that he had a problem at home; for example, the way that his parents have raised him. His
parents always advise him that playing games is a waste of time or something. Therefore, this is like a
message for all teachers. If the teachers think that the games they use don’t work in the classroom, I would
like to tell them not to be upset or anything over this. They should look at other factors that contribute to the
reasons why the chosen games don’t work.

I.ER: Yes. Thank you so much. This is really a good message. Now, I think we have already come to the end
of our online interview today. Once again, I would like thank you for your time, and I wish you a pleasant
evening.

I.EE: You’re welcome. You too!

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Interview Transcript of the 5th Interviewee

Date of Interview: 07/07/2017

Interviewer = I.ER
Interviewee = I.EE

I.ER: Good evening, miss!


I.EE: Good evening!
I.ER: Thank you for participating in this online interview. My name is Sochetra, and I am a master student in
Educational Sciences at VUB, based in Belgium. The topic of our interview today is somehow related to using
language learning games to teach English language to young children. Before we start, allow me to inform you
that the content of this interview will be recorded; however, I would like to assure you that it will remain
confidential and it will be used for educational purposes such as the master thesis which I am currently
working on only. Alright, without further ado, let’s begin our interview. Are you ready?

I.EE: Yes, more than ready.

I.ER: Great, thank you. The first question of the interview would be, have you ever heard of or are you
familiar with the term ‘language learning games’?

I.EE: Alright, actually I have not just heard of or been familiar because I, myself, have used them a lot. To
me, I think they’re almost the basic component of every class I teach.

I.ER: Ahh, I see, so in your own words, how do you define ‘language learning games’?

I.EE: Hmm… ‘Language learning games’ refer to any games that help promote language learning, reinforce
the students’ remembering, and help them produce the target language that we want them to produce. And,
normally I would let my students play after I introduced or presented the language point to them.

I.ER: Okay, then let’s move on to the next question. In general, what do you think of an idea of integrating or
including those games in English language teaching class?

I.EE: Integrating language learning games into every language lesson or class is a good idea because as you
know, games can excite the students. They can give more chances for the students to involve and work more
cooperatively with others so games not only will strengthen the students’ language ability, but also provide
chances to students to socialize with their classmates and also get to know each other better which leads to
positive and friendly learning environment.

I.ER: Okay, I see. So, if I’m not wrong, you have stated that you’re not only just familiar with the term
‘language learning games, but also have used them in your classes. Then please allow me to ask you, how
often do you use or include games in your teaching classrooms?

I.EE: Currently, I’m teaching various levels or classes with different types of students so I have adult students
and young children; therefore, for young children classes, I have to say that I have used games in every

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class. However, for adult learners, I’ve used them once in a while only because I know that they come to
study with a sense of purpose and if I introduced too many games, it would not be a good thing. But for
young children, games are always the things that can spice up the atmosphere in the class.

I.ER: Yeah, indeed. I agree so. Okay, the next question would be, could you share the reasons why you have
decided to use language learning games in the classrooms you have mentioned above?

I.EE: Personally, the reasons that I’ve decided to use games rather than letting the children practise on the
exercises because as you know, children like fun. They like playing or moving around the class. If we ask
them to sit and do exercise, they will not be happy and enjoy the class, so choosing games as a way of
helping them practise and learn is the best choice. And one more thing is that even though they are young,
sometimes they seem to be a bit shy. They don’t really like to mingle with the students of the opposite sex, so
by letting them play games and giving them more chances to interact with their classmates from the other sex
group even if they feel like they’re being forced, from days to days, they will feel less uncomfortable working
with each other. It’s kind of improving social skills because as you know when they grow up, they have to live
in a society where they have to interact, meet and talk to people from opposite sex, so it’s a good thing. Also,
students at this young age should not be allowed to study too much, so sometimes even the games are not
related to studying, just give them some fun in the class after they have been working on the exercises and so
on.

I.ER: Okay…The next question is specifically for the young children classes. When it comes to teaching English
language to young children, do you think that it is an effective technique to use language learning games in
the classroom? Why or why not?

I.EE: Personally to me, it’s very effective because as you know, students learn more when they use more
senses. Aside from asking them to write and to see what we have told them and then ask them to remember,
if we ask them to play games, they will have a chance to move around so it can improve their memories, and
it’s a way of exercising as well. In addition to this, it’s related to the students’ attention span as well. They
could not stay focus for a long time so we should break the lesson. For example, we should have an
introduction, a warm-up activity, and then we have the language focus and then come to the games, so as
you can see that we have various sections, some serious tasks and then something fun for them. I can say
that it’s a mixture of seriousness and fun, and I think it will be enjoyable. Even for us as teachers, we don’t
like boring environment.

I.ER: Alright. So the last question for today interview is, of all the games you have used or the games have
considered using, would you mind sharing what aspects of those games do you look at or consider before
using them in your classroom?

I.EE: Hmm…first of all, I look at the complexity of the games comparing to the level of the students I want to
use them in. After that, I look at the language focus; for example, is it related to the lesson I taught them
before or is it related to the lesson that I am going to teach them on that particular day. Also, sometimes,
even the selected game is not related to language area I’m introducing that day, if I think it’s useful for the

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students, I will still use it. Sometimes, I choose ice breaking activities just to give them as a warm-up as well,
to make them feel ready for the upcoming lesson. Another thing is the duration of the games. If the games
are supposed to take too long, I will have to give a second thought as well before I use them. The most
important thing is it’s better if you can customize the games; for example, if or you learn the language games
from books or from internet or from other teachers, you can customize them by changing the name of the
characters in the games or making the games sound interesting or more related to the students. I think it will
boost up the effectiveness of the games as well as the purpose we want to use them for like whether we want
to focus on social skills or we want the students to improve and practise more on the language points. Hmm…
I think that’s all I have.

I.ER: Okay. Hmm…would you like to add anything more on the general idea of using games to teach English
to young children?

I.EE: Regarding that, I have to admit that I’m not really a creative teacher; however, I try to seek for at least
one game per lesson for those young students because I know it would be very struggling to sit in a class for
1 hour and a half and it’s quite boring, so I need to insert some fun, some excitement for them. Sometimes,
when I ask them to do the exercises, I break those exercises down into different sections, and then I ask
them to do those exercises to gain score and then give them incentive if they win the games or give the losing
team the punishment so that others can have fun watching their friends receive a punishment or the winners
can feel the sense of achievement and they will be proud of themselves. So all in all, the games are very good
for young children classes. I would highly recommend teachers to use language learning games; even if
sometimes, the games are not really related to the target language point, as long as it’s fun.

I.ER: So what you mean is, in short, you recommend fun components in the language teaching classroom?

I.EE: Yes, sure! And if I were a student, I think I would not miss any classes of the teachers who always use
games in his or her classes.

I.ER: Alright, thank you. I guess we have already come to the end of our online interview today. It’s a
pleasure to have you as one of the helpful participants and I want to thank you so much for your time. Please
have a good evening.

I.EE: Thank you.

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Interview Transcript of the 6th Interviewee

Date of Interviewer: 13/07/2017

Interviewer = I.ER
Interviewee = I.EE

I.ER: Good evening, sir!

I.EE: Hello!

I.ER: Thank you so much for participating in this online interview. My name is Sochetra and I am currently a
master student in educational sciences at VUB, based in Belgium. Allow me to introduce to you the topic of
our online interview today which is related to using games to teach young children English language. Before
we start, I would like to inform you that the content of this interview will be recorded; however, I also would
like to assure you that it will remain confidential and it will be used for an educational purpose such as the
master thesis which I’m currently working on only. Alright, without further ado, let’s begin our interview. Are
you ready, sir?

I.EE: Yes.

I.ER: Thank you. The first question from me today is, have you ever heard of or are you familiar with the
term language learning games?

I.EE: I have not heard of the term typically, but I have some kind of ideas just what they are.

I.ER: Okay. Thank you. Then based on your ideas of knowing what they are, in your own words, can you
define them?

I.EE: I assume that language learning games refer to those kinds of fun activities that you use to captivate
students’ interest while at the same time try to achieve the target set in the classroom. I mean in terms of
learning a language. What I was saying is that they are any fun activities that are used in the classroom and
in a hope that to make it fun for the students but they need to capture students’ interest so that they can
participate actively in the games that you’re trying to teach.

I.ER: Okay. Now let’s move on to the next question. In general, what do you think of an idea of integrating or
including language learning games in English language teaching class?

I.EE: I think it really depends on the context of your class. I think it would fit more with the younger children.
From my experiences, I taught all adults, teenagers and young children, and from what I’ve observed is when
I use games with children, they tend to love it better because it’s in their nature that they want to play with
their peers instead of studying, and studying could be boring for them. When I use with the adults and
teenagers, they seem to not really like it for they are not as energetic as young children. So I really think it

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depends on the age group of your students; therefore, games could be good for young children, yet they
might not be good for adults.

I.ER: Alright, thank you. The next question I want to ask is somehow just for a clarification. Since you have
experienced teaching young children, have you ever included language learning games in your classroom? If
you do so, how often do you do it?

I.EE: I use games almost every day with my CP classes whereas CP stands for children program because as I
read somewhere in the research which suggests that the longest attention span for a child is only 40 minutes
and every CP class of mine is 1 hour and a half, so I found it very useful to either use it at the beginning of
the class to attract their attention or at the end of the class to wake them up because after a one-hour lesson,
they seem a bit tired and sleepy in the class, so it is both fun and good experience to use it and language
learning games have been very effective in my experience teaching young children.

I.ER: Thank you, and the next question is more specifically on your point of view on language learning games.
Would you mind, in details, sharing or telling the reasons why you decided to use those games in your
classes?

I.EE: Hmm…I have used games for many purposes. Most like I said earlier is about the attention span since
young children could get bored easily and they could lose their interest in listening to me or in lecturing all the
time. I believe they need something fresh, something new, and I have to provide it to them. And regarding
experiences involving in games, usually in the games, you don’t just cooperate with just one or two friends,
but you’re actually playing along together with other classmates, and it’s in a sense of competition as well. In
addition to this, you know, children love to feel a sense of accomplishment, and if I integrate games into the
class to try to find the winners, it somehow gives them the motivation to engage in classroom activities after a
long boring lesson. So there are three purposes which I have tried to mention here: one because of the boring
lessons, two to encourage a sense of accomplishment, and three to encourage motivation.

I.ER: Nice, thank you. Now let’s move on to the next question. This question is actually based on the
emphasis on the effectiveness of the games. When it comes down to teaching English language to young
children, do you think using games in young children classes is an effective technique? Why or why not?

I.EE: It has been very effective in my experience because of the reason I have said earlier which is related to
the nature of the children that they want to have fun after a long lesson, and it’s related to the fact that they
have short attention span, so they might not feel all comfortable with the traditional learning. Well, by
traditional learning, I mean learning face-to-face with the teacher or with other peers. They need something
outside the textbook. They need something especially prepared for them so that they can develop interest in
the lesson. So yeah, I think it’s effective with the children in this sense.

I.ER: Yes, thank you. Now we have come to the last question of today interview. Of all the games you have
used or you have considered using, would you mind telling what aspects or factors of those games that you
look at or consider before you use them in your classroom?

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I.EE: First of all, I definitely look at the games’ capability in terms of achieving the target language; however,
it occurs to me that the more important factor is something to do with the discipline or the appropriateness of
the games. What I mean by that is young children can overreact and they can be gotten out of hand very
easily, and I’ve been teaching in an institute that is quite small so all the classrooms are next to each other. I
have to make sure that the games will not cause too much noise and chaos because you have to be
considerate of other classes as well. And another thing is I have to make sure that the games are not too
competitive because winning or losing would mean a lot to certain students and I don’t want to upset my
students. I also look at the dangers that the games might cause to my students because some games, you
know, for example, racing the ladders in which the students have to rush to the front and write the word on
the whiteboard. It’s quite physical and that can cause injuries to the students, so as a teacher, you have to
actually care about their physical well-beings as well. So yeah, those are the three things that I look at most.
First, whether or not it can achieve the objective of my lesson. Second, whether or not they are too loud, too
noisy, or too chaotic, and third, whether or not they are too physical that they might cause injuries to the
students.

I.ER: Ahh, I see. Alright, just to conclude today’s interview, do you have general comments or any
recommendations on the use of games in English language class of young children?

I.EE: I think for longer classes, I mean long-period classes, we should try to integrate more language learning
games for the students because I think it will serve as something that can sometimes take control over the
students, to get their attention, to make them feel fresh even though they feel tired because like I have been
stating in this interview that games are fun and children love them. What I would say is that at the place
where I am working, we don’t have so many properly built or properly designed language learning games for
the students, so the teachers have to create their own games or adapt from other teachers’ games, and
because they have to do them by themselves, I’m not saying that they are not experts, but they’re not the
experts in creating games so the games might not appropriate for the children. Therefore, I wish there could
be more incentives for people to work on creating properly designed language learning games which are
appropriate for teachers to use in the class and appropriate for students to learn as well to avoid any harms or
dangers at all costs. That’s all from me.

I.ER: Okay, alright, I can see that we have already come to the end of our online interview today. Your
contribution to this interview is greatly appreciated, and, once again, thank you so much for your time. I wish
you a pleasant evening.

I.EE: Thank you, and you’re welcome.

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Interview Transcript of the 7th Interviewee

Date of Interview: 21/07/2017

Interviewer = I.ER
Interviewee = I.EE

I.ER: Good evening, miss!

I.EE: Good evening!

I.ER: Thank you so much for spending your time participating in this online interview. My name is Sochetra,
and I am currently a master student in educational sciences at VUB, based in Belgium. The topic of our online
interview today is related to using games to teach young children English language. Before we start, allow me
to inform you that the content of this interview will be recorded; however, I also would like to assure you that
it will remain confidential and it will be used for an educational purposes such as the master thesis which I’m
currently working on only. Alright, without further ado, let’s begin our interview. Are you ready?

I.EE: Yes.

I.ER: Thank you. The first question from me today is, have you ever heard of or are you familiar with the
term, language learning games?

I.EE: Actually, I’ve been using games in classroom, but I have never heard of the word, language learning
games; however, based on my own knowledge, I know what it is.

I.ER: Right, thank you. Well, I think it’s more or less just the matter of the term. Do you think so?

I.EE: Yes, yes, I do.

I.ER: Alright, so since you said that you know what it is, would you mind, in your own words, defining it?

I.EE: I think the games that we’ve usually used in the children program classes are the games that we think
they can help the students learn the language point that we’re trying to introduce in the class. They are
activities that we try to get the students to get used to producing the words, vocabs, or maybe sometimes,
the grammar points that we want them to learn because I think that giving the young students the handouts
alone will not really help them learn the language points. And, in order for me to measure how much the
students learned from my class and to measure whether my objective was achieved or not, I think the best
way is to have some productions and the way that I try to see whether students can produce the language
points or not is by using games, and I think that’s the definition of language learning games.

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I.ER: Okay, thank you so much. So let’s move on to the next question. In general, what do you think of an
idea of integrating or including language learning games in your teaching class?

I.EE: I think it’s a good idea because whether it’s a class of young children class or adult learners, game is
something that helps students relax as well as feel free to express their ideas and their knowledge on the
language points. It’s like if we put pressure on them too much, they will find it hard to produce the target
language, so using games is the best way to help them relax, and we can also see the results after spending
15 to 20 minutes, to see if they have learned something or not. I think it’s a good way to include games, and
I normally include games in my classes.

I.ER: Okay, thanks. Since you already stated that you normally include games in your teaching classes, so
may I ask how often do you use or include the games in your teaching classrooms?

I.EE: If we’re talking about young children classes, yes, I normally include games in those classes. In terms of
how often, let’s say if I teach 3 days a week, I sometimes use games 2 days a week. I think that children tend
to find normal exercises boring. It’s like it’s so hard for them to get to learn reading or listening because it’s
kind of boring for them, so I think the best way is to get them moving. Therefore, very often, I include games
in the young children classes, or I can say that I actually include games in every session that I teach young
children.

I.ER: Ahh, alright. Then allow me to move on the next question. Would you mind, in details, sharing or telling
the reasons why you decided to use or include the games in your classrooms?

I.EE: Well, okay, I’ll try to list the answer in points then. My first reason that I decided to use games in class
is to get my students moving instead of just sitting in one spot for 1 hour and a half. The second reason is I
want to help them relax in classroom rather than feeling stressed out for 1 hour and a half. I want them to
find learning educational and entertaining at the same time, not just a pressure. I want them to find the class
pleasurable. And, my third reason is that I think using games is the best way to measure the language
production. It’s like when we’re using games, we can make the students practise and produce the target
language, so we can meet both objectives at the same time. It’s better than just letting the students sit,
repeat the words, and write down the grammar points on handouts. The last reason is that I like to make my
students love me. It’s to build a good rapport between the students and teacher. Yeah, I think that’s all.

I.ER: Okay, alright. Then from your personal point of view, when it comes down to teaching English language
to young children, do you think using games is an effective technique in the classroom? Why or why not?

I.EE: Yes, I do think that it’s an effective technique to use games in the classroom because we all know that
children tend to have a very short attention span, and it’s better to have a lot of activities, especially games.
This is because they like fun stuffs and they learn a lot from having fun as well. And, when we use games, it’s
like the young students somehow find classroom or school as a playground. I believe they might think to
themselves that it’s the place where they can learn and have some fun at the same time. That makes games
the most effective technique. However, I believe that there are some teachers who disagree with this. They

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would say that using games is a waste of time, and it’s better to use other serious language production
activities. But, to me the best language production activity is the games. It’s like we try to give students more
control on their own learning. So, overall, I think using games is an effective technique.

I.ER: Yeah, right. I agree so. Okay, the last question from me is, of all the games you have used or you have
considered using, would you mind telling what aspects or factors of those games that you look at or consider
before you use them in your classroom?

I.EE: Oh okay. So regarding the aspects of those games that I have considered, first, I look at how the games
can connect the lesson point and the fun that we should share together in the classroom. So, it’s like whether
or not the games reflect what students should be able to produce after the class. Second, I look at the time
consumption. It’s like how much time the games take to play in the class. If that one game takes up to 45
minutes, it is a little bit too much, and the students will find the game boring too. Third is related to physical
movement. I tend to try to look at whether the game always keep the students on their toes or it just makes
the students stay in one place and feel bored eventually in the classroom. Forth would be the flexibility of the
games. It’s about whether or not that particular game can be used and adapted to different situations in which
I would like to use it. I’ll see whether I can use that game as the main stage of the lesson or as the extra
activity. The last aspect is related to my understanding of the games because sometimes, when the teacher
doesn’t really understand the games, how can the teacher explain to the students. And sometimes, if I find a
certain game is boring, I feel like my students will find it boring too, so I won’t include that game in my
classroom, and I will change that game to other thing. Yeah, that’s it. There are 5 aspects in total.

I.ER: Yeah, right 5 in total. So, before we end, do you have any general comments or recommendations
regarding using games to teach young children English language?

I.EE: If I am to add, I feel that only teachers in the city that use games in the classroom. In some other parts
of the country, here in Cambodia, teachers tend to adopt and practise a teacher-centered style of teaching.
They are not comfortable at moving from teacher-centered style to student-centered style at all. If we’re
using games, it means that we focus on student-centered style, but the problem is only us, teachers in the
city, who try to focus on that aspect. For the teachers in the rural areas, they don’t feel the same. I think it’s
because their knowledge might not be updated, and well, it’s just my personal thought. I guess that is all from
me.

I.ER: Thank you so much. I think that we have already come to an end of our online interview today.
Apparently, your time and contribution are greatly appreciated. Once again, thank you so much, and I wish
you a pleasant evening.

I.EE: Yeah, no problem. Thank you. Goodbye!

I.ER: Yes, goodbye!

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