Kids only want to play games! + They’re really shy

Phoebe in Hong Kong wrote in for help saying that her kids are really, really shy and only ever want to play games. Β She asked how to cut down on the amount of games without them getting bored. Β Here’s what I wrote in response:

Hi Phoebe, if the kids only ever want to play games, that’s fine! Β  They are one of the best ways to learn a language (I incorporate them in all my lesson plans). Β The key is to figure out what English you want to teach and just find a suitable game that lets you practice that language. Β That way the kids get their game, and you get them learning what they need! Β If they have the passion for something we might as well go with it.
If you have a look at the games page of Genki English ( ) then just about every game can be changed to teach just about any English you can think of.

The second thing is to try and conquer the shyness.
“Shy” just means “the degree to which you can communicate” Β so it’s not a personality trait as such, it’s actually what we are trying to get rid of with communication based lessons.
And the best medicine for shyness is “confidence” Β So I’d have a look at doing more, simple presentation type activities (e.g. the Superhero or Treasure Adventure ones from Genki English) and also trying to incorporate more self improvement type ideas (e.g. Zig Ziglar, Napoleon Hill etc.) into the lessons.
What other ideas would you suggest?

Richard Graham

I'm on a mission to make education Genkiβ€”fun, exciting, and full of life! Genki English has now been researched by Harvard University and licensed by the British Council around the world. The results have been magical! Now I'm here to help you teach amazing lessons, with all the materials prepared for you, and to double your teaching income so you can sustainably help many more students in the future!

One Response to “Kids only want to play games! + They’re really shy”

  1. Jerry Groome

    We are using puppets a fair bit now…. They work well with the shy kids in that they can talk through them, thereby shifting focus to the puppet and off them. Miyuki and I often do a short scene/skit with the puppets, using the target English… Then the kids, in pairs, take the stage and have a go… Even our older groups, at the end of elementary years and first year junior high school, love doing this.
    It’s often hilarious.
    We have been using Pooh and Elmo. Pooh, while being slightly slower than Elmo and is oft to make tiny mistakes, is always up-beat and is happy when Elmo helps him to get it right. We use this to show the kids that it’s ok to make mistakes and to show that it’s good to help each other. Then, on occasions, Elmo might “slip up” and Pooh is glad to help his friend in return.
    We went to an Oxford workshop recently, on how to use puppets and were pleasantly surprised to find that we were already ahead of the game.
    In addition, you can of course buy puppets, but homemade ones work great too. You can’t beat the old “sock” puppet. Or sometimes I simply use my closed fist, using the thumb as the mouth and then draw eyes, features etc, with a whiteboard pen (comes off easily when the kids do it). Another idea is getting the kids to make their own puppets to reinforce/review face-body parts.

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