Feedback on Using Games PD

Using Games to develop language and vocabulary in the classroom
Presenter: Karen Starkiss
Karen provided us with notes on the PD and a handout of games we may use to develop language and vocabulary in the classroom. These notes and handouts cannot be shared with people who did not attend.

Links to the Australian Teaching Standards give specific areas which were covered:
1.5 Differentiate teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities
1.6 Strategies to support full participation of students with a disability
4.1 Support Student participation
6.4 Apply professional learning and improve student learning
7.4 Engage with professional teaching networks and broader communities

CRTs that attended provided a range of feedback on the PD. I have summarized it as follows:

Reasons that people decided to participate included: interested in learning about making language learning fun, appreciate the depth of knowledge the presenter has about dyslexia and learning disabilities, useful in the CRT context, hoped it would help acquisition of some new ideas, needed some inspiration for more active ways to engage students, provided PD hours in special educational needs, it was a local opportunity, it was cost free.

Karen presented the theory behind using games and what relevance it has in making memorable learning experiences for students.  Her handouts provided the key points to the information she disseminated. The games notes were detailed and because we played them, we learnt about what works and as a group were able to suggest ways in small groups and the whole group that we would alter the games to suit the students we know.  For example, to make it easier for a deaf student to play we would use a rolling arm movement rather than a loud clapping sound to anticipate an answer.  Karen accepted queries or comments from participants as they arose, which assisted participants to feel at ease when they felt clarification or depth was required.

We soon learnt that although we may use some games in the five minutes here or there as fillers that we could expect that the use of the games would enable students to grow their understanding and breadth of word knowledge when used intentionally.  As an engaging way into new learning and use of strategic thinking, games are fun and help us remember what we learnt because of the variety of contexts experienced.  Oral skills, reading skills, social skills all come to play out together through the conversations with others, the listening to others and the challenging of others in small groups.  This leads to overall growth in ability and the learner’s belief that what they know and offer is valuable.

CRTs generally felt they have a larger repertoire of ways to engage students.  They felt that the presentation was helpful and equipped them well and will provide them with a fresh way to engage students.  Whatever the level the students may be working, these activities can be designed in a way that promotes and shifts the learning possibilities forward.  The interactivity works at all levels as was proved by the participation on a balmy afternoon and evening.

Ian Conabere 10 3 2016