Advanced Level, Burnt out Students? Settlers of Catan Time!

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Settlers of Catan for ESL Students

Tired Students, Let’s Have some Fun!

These past couple years, I’ve had some classes who are preparing for internships in the USA who are functioning burnt out students style. They’ve been studying for 7-8 hours a day, every day of the week for the last few month and they’ve reached a breaking point. The classes are getting smaller and smaller as students have been going to the US, having to prepare documents or going to the US embassy for interviews.

Settlers of Catan Style

These days, it’s only 3-4 students and all of them are fluent in English so I decided it was time to teach them how to play The Settlers of Catan. I love board games and so anytime I can do it in class, I will!

Other teachers in this program are showing movies, chit-chatting about random stuff or going out for lunch so I don’t exactly feel terrible about the lack of “serious-study,” but I actually think that board games are an excellent way to learn real-life English. I also think that students who are going to the USA or Canada would do well to learn a few games so they can have a few more social opportunities, if possible.

Anyway, here’s how I did: I gave a quick run-down of the rules in about 15 minutes, in English and they understood easily enough, despite the fact that none of them had played the game before. We got set-up, with a bit of coaching from me about the initial placements and played a couple games.

The students seemed to really enjoy it and I did as well! They even spoke English basically the entire time without any prompting from me, which I was impressed with. Maybe it helped that I was the only one who knew all the rules and could give advice about strategy. Haha!

New Challenge: Students Love it!

Give it a try in your classes if you teach small groups of really high-level students. They’re usually so tired of the normal “conversation” classes that they’ll probably be happy for a new challenge and will be into it, even if they’ve never played board games before. In fact, I’ve even had a few students go out and buy the game after we’ve played it and teach it to their friends and family. Success!

Oh yeah, board games can work very well for private students if you want to have a bit of fun.

King of Tokyo: Works Well Too

Another game that is simpler and works extremely well is King of Tokyo. It’s faster to explain and set up too.

More Ideas for the Classroom

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