School is just like Angry Birds

John wrote in to ask:

I don’t think my kids yet understand the concept of “Losing means try again”. When I explain the concept to them, it seems to go right over their heads. Β What can I do?

Ah yes, Genki English Rule No.2 : Losing means “Try again!”

The problem seems to be that kids have been brain washed to believe this isn’t true * in school. *

(Even though outside school they use it everyday.)

And it’s even tougher if you can’t explain it in the kids’ native language.

But there is one really, really, really easy way to teach this …..

Angry Birds!!!

Just let the kids play a bit in class.

Then take it off them (be prepared for tears!) andΒ ask them what they did when they lost.

Of course, they try again!

There you go!

Then just tell them it’s the same in English class.

(Well, every Genki class really.)

They might be shocked – after all this goes against everything every teacher has ever taught them – Β but will usually beΒ relievedΒ and go “Nice!”

School is just like Angry Birds.

All kids know that losing means trying again – even 3 year olds play Angry Birds.

We just have to let Β them know it is OK * in school *

And it is actually a brilliant way to learn.

Getting other * teachers * to get this, well that’s a whole other story!

Maybe buying them an ipad?

Be genki,


P.S. Years ago I used to do this with Tetris. Β Guess that shows my age!

Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. When I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. Now I help teachers just like you teach amazing lessons and double your incomes!

3 Responses to “School is just like Angry Birds”

  1. Gumby

    Great analogy. I really think there is a lot TEACHERS can learn from video games. For example, the games never start off with 100% as the goal. Players move at their own pace and the most successful games find ways where the player experiences small successes along the way. You rarely have just one try to get or not get to the next level. Nor is there only one correct ‘way’ to solve the problem. Each level gets progressively difficult. There is ample opportunity to practice each step and complete mastery of each step is an option and not an absolute requirement. New challenges or ‘birds’ are introduced so the game seems new and not repetitive.

    Wow, what can we do to improve motivation in our own classrooms.

    (by the way the game Plants and Zombies can be just as addictive. Lots to learn about how to motivate just by playing this game!)

  2. julian

    Thanks for this. My son loves Angry Birds…..and will try, try, try again for AGES. Give him a English sentence to read and he gives up very quickly. I will try to convince him to do otherwise with your analogy.

    Mind you, it’s usually so he can go back to Angry Birds that he gives up on the reading! What can we do about that!?

  3. Kate

    Thanks for the good tip. Been experiencing the same problem in my class.

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