Learning and teaching Arabic language is hard work. Constant effort is required over an extensive period of time for the language to stick in the minds of young ones. Games help and encourage many learners to sustain their interest and work.
When students are amused and engaged the content is clearly meaningful to them. Thus the meaning of the language they listen to, read, speak and write will be more vividly experienced and, therefore, better retained.
Through many years of teaching in the weekend schools, I observed numerous advantages of using games in the classroom. Here are some that I share with you:
- Well-chosen games are invaluable as they give students a welcome break from the usual routine of the Arabic language class and at the same time allow students to practice language skills.
- Games are great as revision exercises, helping learners recall material in a pleasant, entertaining way.
- Games provide Arabic language practice using various skills: speaking, writing, listening and reading.
- Games encourage students to interact and communicate with each other.
It is very interesting to observe, at the end of a class when parents pick up their child and ask him or her, "What did you do today?" The most immediate (and may be the only) thing that comes to the child's mind is "We played a game today!".
11 Game Ideas for Arabic Class:
Here are some of the games that I have been using in my class to teach Arabic, to make learning the language of the Quran fun and engaging:
- Flash cards is the simplest game and could be used in many ways: matching letters, finding a specific letter among other letters, giving the cards to students and calling each letter so the student holding a letter that is called would come forward...etc.
- Spread two sets of letters card on a table at the end of the class, divide the class into two teams, and give them turns to run and bring the announced letter and award a point to the whole team.
- Make small alphabet posters and hang them in different places around the class. Get two students at a time to race to find the announced letter and give them a point for every letter they find.
- Let two students stand 7-8 steps away from you and show them a letter or a word. The one who says it first (or says the meaning) will take one step forward. The winner is the one who takes the 7-8 steps and reaches where you are first.
- When the students start reading simple words, make flash cards of the new words that they are reading in their Surah or Islamic studies book. Play the same games listed above, such as matching, running to the poster, racing to identify the word on the table, and saying the word and and step forward.
- For teaching the rule of Tanween, I make cards with the different Tanween on them. I make 4-5 sets of the Tanween cards. Each set has 3 cards, one Tanween on each card (ً- ٌ- ٍ-).I call few students and give each one his/her set, and read a word with Tashkeel. When they hear the word they have to raise the right Tashkeel upward and get a point; the winner will be rewarded and a new group will come to play.
- Bingo is a great game. Use the website http://edubakery.com/ and make your own Arabic bingo game cards using the words that your students are learning. The website will make for you as many as 50 different bingo cards from the words that you provide.
- When teaching meaning of Arabic words, Scramble is a fun educational game. Make a list of scrambled Arabic words or even Islamic terms. Give them a hint for the word and they should know and write the word in Arabic. Example ( م د م ح (hint: the last Prophet).
- Let them write their names in Arabic on a piece of felt fabric, design it with sparkle or other shinny objects and then attach all the felts together to make it a quilt and hang it in the class.
- Hangman is another cool game. Choose a word or sentence that they studied in Arabic. Write some of the letters from the word on your board and let them guess the missing letters.
- Put 5 flash cards of letters or words on the table. Let the child identify them and then flip first one backward and let him guess it. Continue with the rest, then flip 1st and 2nd and let him/her guess them and continue till the end. Then flip 3 of them together and then all of them flipped backward and the child has to guess them. This is a fun game to help a child recognize the letter/word and read it and memorize it.
Suzan Anbari is a weekend Islamic school teacher in the US and Canada for over a decade now. She loves to teach children using creative and engaging tools in every subject. She currently resides in Vancouver, BC, Canada.