The effects of game practice in English Vocabulary didactics: A case study of high school students

آثار ممارسة اللعب في تعليم مفردات اللغة الإنجليزية .دراسة حالة لطلاب المرحلة الثانوية

Les effets de la pratique du jeu dans la didactique du vocabulaire anglais : Une étude de cas d’élèves du secondaire


p. 253-260

BOUCHIKHI Fatima, « The effects of game practice in English Vocabulary didactics: A case study of high school students », Aleph, 8 (4) | -1, 253-260.

BOUCHIKHI Fatima, « The effects of game practice in English Vocabulary didactics: A case study of high school students », Aleph [], 8 (4) | 2021, 25 June 2021, 01 June 2023. URL :

This paper discusses the reason behind using games while teaching English vocabulary in secondary schools. For instance, teacher may introduce new items through games. concerning language games help learners to memorize new words and be more active in school. This research is used from a questionnaire applied to English as a Foreign language’s teachers to survey their point of views about vocabulary and their interests about language games as a method to teach vocabulary .The aim of this study is focusing on the importance of games among secondary schools’ pupil vocabulary learning for the sake of gaining effective education. Finally, it’s important to notice that the language games should be applied in learning English vocabulary so on improve pupils’ results and achievements.


هذه المقالة سبب استخدام الألعاب في تدريس مفردات اللغة الإنجليزية في المدارس الثانوية. على سبيل المثال ، يمكن للمدرس إدخال عناصر جديدة من خلال الألعاب. تساعد الألعاب اللغوية المتعلمين على حفظ الكلمات الجديدة وأن يكونوا أكثر نشاطًا في المدرسة. تم استخدام هذا البحث من خلال استبيان تم تطبيقه على معلمي اللغة الإنجليزية كلغة ثانية لاستقصاء وجهة نظرهم حول المفردات واهتماماتهم في الألعاب اللغوية كأسلوب لتعليم المفردات. الهدف من هذه الدراسة هو التركيز على أهمية الألعاب في تعلم المفردات لطلاب المدارس الثانوية من أجل تحقيق تعليم فعال. أخيرًا ، من المهم ملاحظة أنه يجب تطبيق الألعاب اللغوية في تعلم مفردات اللغة الإنجليزية من أجل تحسين تحصيل الطلاب وإنجازاتهم.

Cet article traite de la raison de l’utilisation des jeux dans l’enseignement du vocabulaire anglais dans les écoles secondaires. Par exemple, l’enseignant peut introduire de nouveaux éléments par le biais de jeux. Les jeux de langue aident les apprenants à mémoriser de nouveaux mots et à être plus actifs à l’école. Cette recherche est utilisée à partir d’un questionnaire appliqué aux enseignants d’anglais langue étrangère pour sonder leur point de vue sur le vocabulaire et leurs intérêts sur les jeux de langue comme méthode d’enseignement du vocabulaire. Le but de cette étude est de se concentrer sur l’importance des jeux dans l’apprentissage du vocabulaire des élèves des écoles secondaires afin d’obtenir une éducation efficace. Enfin, il est important de noter que les jeux de langue devraient être appliqués dans l’apprentissage du vocabulaire anglais afin d’améliorer les résultats et les réalisations des élèves.


Vocabulary teaching is an extremely important skill because it includes and enhances listening, speaking, reading and writing as well as essential elements required for language. Furthermore, research shows that passive engagement typically results in limited knowledge retention in students. Teachers are looking for an effective way to distribute data to learners and achieve their goals. A large number of scholars did research on improving the vocabulary of the learners. He has listed the rules to make it efficient and useful in the given situation. Brassel (2008) has confirmed that there are two categories of teachers. The first knows the importance of vocabulary in language learning. On the contrary, the second one makes it easier for the learner. Another researcher Scrivener (1994) defined the traditional method of teaching as :“ Interpretations, especially long ones leave me cold, I get bored : I switch off ” (p, 14). can be better understood. To allow learners to acquire their mother tongue in their society. Games are incorporated into the learning process to create an engaging environment to encourage students to learn and use as much vocabulary as possible. Since sports have many benefits for both learners and teachers, games should not be considered as a marginal activity. Instead, motivating students should be an important activity when learning English. There are some techniques to improve and develop the vocabulary of the learners. Teachers should use it to introduce new words. Since learning a foreign language is not an easy task, of course, students need a suitable learning environment. Thus, teachers should use new words in the appropriate context and situation to suit the styles and needs of the students. Sport is one of the most effective means for this. He provides them with skills and performance. It has been proven that a combination of play and fun can be beneficial in an English as a foreign language class. This means that the recreational activities are stimulating and stimulating to the students. Teaching English as a foreign language with these tools helps students improve their language skills. But some effects must be considered in order to avoid misunderstandings and difficulties. Consequently, the problematic we are going to examine is the effectiveness of games on English as a foreign language for learning vocabulary in high school.

1. Teaching vocabulary via play

Effective learning is linked to refreshing the learners’ favorites. Many researchers have argued that learning a foreign language requires creating an exciting, surprising, cooperative and motivating atmosphere in practice activities. This helps to reduce anxiety and stress among learners. With regard to the notion of teaching through games, their use in the teaching process can facilitate the learning of English as a foreign language and improve the learner’s performance. Games can be useful in achieving these goals as they are considered to be exciting and teachable techniques that help improve students’ communicative and linguistic skills.

1.1. Definition of vocabulary

Usually a set of alphabet and defined words for a specific field or for a specific purpose, often for study. A set of words that a person knows and uses. Or use vocabulary in a specific field. The words of the language as a whole. Also a variety of artistic or stylistic shapes or techniques. It has many synonyms such as dictionary, cleavage or auditicon.

According to Scrinever (2005 : 225), vocabulary and lexis are quite different. He claimed that vocabulary :

“Typically refers to single words(,wash) and sometimes to very tightly linked two or three word combinations(e.g.stock market, compact disc, sky blue, go off” though, he described lexis as our ‘internal database’ of words and complete “ ready _made’ fixed/semi/typical combinations of words that we can recall and use quite quickly without having to construct new phrases and sentences word by word from scratch using our knowledge of grammar ”.

Most significantly, vocabulary is one of the most essential element in learners proficiency level. It indicates his position in speaking, listening, reading and writing. Futhermore, being far from extensive vocabulary acquisition may create a difficulty for students to attain their potential and to benefit from apportunities provided to them such as listening to radio and communicating in different context (Richards & Renandya, 2002 : 255). Vocabulary is an important tool of communication. Therefore, it is clear that the more a student knows the words, the more he can say and understand another.

1.2. Using games with learners 

Learning games, the use of games is more effective so that students at every level feel comfortable and learn new words. But it is more than enough for teenagers because they are cool and enjoy learning. According to Nelsko and Arthur (1991:76) :

“In addition to the personal challenge, younger students also enjoy competing with their peers, and introducing a game element is a way of livening up any material.”

Also, for the first time students find it very difficult to remember new words, it is very difficult for them to do it. Learning new words requires repetition, but some are not effective. Alternatively, teachers can repeat a game to students instead of repeating words. In addition, the game creates a good relationship between students and the foreign language. Finally, students understand that language is not a combination of words.

1.3. The link between games and word memorization

Learning a language consists of copying and retelling words and facts. But a lot of students don’t quickly remember new items. Furthermore, Wright et al (1984, p. 157) confirmed in their introduction that if students are happy with the meaning of the language they hear, read, speak, and write, they are brighter, more informed, and better. The games combine productive and responsive skills in a time of exciting teaching methods. The students then remember for a long time what was presented during the real-life experience. Teaching English requires not only giving a number of laws, but also telling the methods and techniques that are given to students. Learn to treat English as a foreign language and to use it in everyday life. This means that teachers must implement methods to facilitate and engage students in order to engage in English. That is why they use sport as a fun and motivating activity. They are important for the development of students as they help them achieve the best results. Especially to improve his four skills. Therefore, games are useful for learning English as they improve verbal communication and cognitive skills of students.

2. Method of research

2.1. Issue’s study and pattern

The existing research goals to test information approximately developing English as overseas language, the use of video games to research hypotheses duties. A case take a look at on secondary’s school students. The subsequent research questions have been contributed:

  • To what extent do games influence vocabulary learning by secondary school learners (EFL)?

  • What types of games are best in assisting secondary students memorize new English terms?

  • What type of activity is most effective (movement, visual or auditory associations)?

2.2. Participants

The study includes a questionnaire destined to secondary school teachers in order to collect data and know more about the importance of using games for teaching English vocabulary. These documents were distributed to teachers who were kindly asked to tick the appropriate answer or explain more if it is necessary. The questionnaire contains sixteen questions. Teachers were eight persons among them five ladies and three gentlemen, they work in two high schools. Their ages were between 27- 47, there exist some who work for twenty-three years, others for ten years and others for few years. Their degrees are also two types four of them got the license and the rest got the Master degree. (The majority of teachers who got master are novice).

The main important issues

The main important issues

Figure: Teachers” degree

According to statistics 1/2 of the academics “range (50%) have the license certificate and the others have the master degree (50%).



















Figure: The impact of language games on the four skills

Consistent with 30% of the lecturers, speaking is the maximum affected by language games, 25% of them suppose that writing is affected, 25% of them say that games have an effect on listening and 20% of them say that reading is the main skill suffering from language games.

2.3. Data interpretation

Results show that 50% of teachers use games for teaching English as a tool to enhance vocabulary English, in contrast 50% do not. Thinking about levels and stages, the majority of teachers think that the first year secondary school is more appropriate for teaching through games. In contrast the rest of them think that the second and the third one may be appropriate for them. They see that playing may make learners participate, feel fun, active and motivated, engaged, share, think and challenge each other. Sometimes it is a means of changing the mood since they feel bored. Since it is not an easy task to teach vocabulary, it is good idea to refresh the atmosphere. But not the case for all the educators some of them said that it’s a waste of time or not the best way to teach new words. Sometimes also because they are not mentioned in the curriculum or the syllabus. In addition, concerning teaching vocabulary per week,seventy five% of instructors do it instances, thirteen% of them do it 5 times, 12% of them teach it six times and zero % of them do now not educate it extra than six times. Also, it has been noticed that teaching vocabulary is not an easy task. Because it is done in an ordinary way. Learners dislike learning by heart or recalling words each time. It is preferable to make them receive it in another method and it must be given in suitable context. Additionally some educators think that the lack of some materials like data shows, shortage of papers, internet, computers.. etc can cause problems and create obstacles for the majority of them. They think that creativity has to be with some conditions, they could not reach the goals. What’s more teaching vocabulary through games is an excellent way to motivate learners, they will feel at ease and make the teacher also very active. So they will get better results.

‘Learning new words is a cumulative process, with words enriched and established as they are met again’. Nation(2000 : 6).

Games have a strong effect on pupils” improvements and their psychological side in terms of inspiration. The results proved the efficacy of games as techniques that help both teacher and pupils to enhance new language and its’ use. Though, the majority of teachers do not use language games for learning English vocabulary. Because of facing few difficulties and obstacles like technical and academic ones that they are wishing to overcome.

3. Recommendations and suggestions

Language teachers emphasize the significance of carefully selecting games in order to achieve desired outcomes. In light of this, we advise teachers to select low-effort, uncomplicated games that will appeal to their students. In addition, in order to attract students’ attention, teachers must consider their interests when selecting a game; they can schedule a meeting to gather the information needed to plan the match. As a result, games are provided to motivate students in English sessions as a Foreign Language. Furthermore, there are few suggestions for teachers to use in order to evaluate the results obtained through the integration of games in the classroom. Furthermore, it provides advantages for putting games into practice to create active students who are forced to study outside of the classroom. This is why teachers must understand when, when, and how to use games. Furthermore, it is advantageous for teachers to schedule a specific and appropriate time for engaging in fun activities. Use them at the end of each unit or during a review session for a test. However, teachers must be aware of this prior to its introduction in order to achieve the game’s objectives and the participants’ comprehension. Finally, adding little fun for learning English as a foreign language is very important, so that students feel at ease in teaching.


Considering vocabulary is the most important skill in the English language, this makes a challenge for foreign language’s students to know new words. For this reason teachers may employ all of their resources to address ambiguity among learners, For example they resort other methods which may be sufficient for learning like games. Because they develop learners’ lexical proficiency and psychological attitude, they are useful methods for progressing education.

Finally, it is clear that learning through games is effective, particularly when it comes to learning and memorizing new terms. However, due to several obstacles, teachers rarely use them.

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The main important issues

The main important issues

Figure: Teachers” degree


Abdelhamid Ibn Badis – Mostaghanem

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