Many researches stated that learning a language is better started from early age because in this stage the children will be easier to acquire the language, sooner they start learning, more proficient they will be in using the language. Therefore, presently, English is introduced starting from kindergarten and becomes one lesson subject that must be taken in elementary school based on government’s rule in Indonesia. In this level, the children are usually called by young learners. Young learners are those who just start the formal school until they are in eleven or twelve years old.
Teaching English for young learner is not easy task as it is seen because children are interested in fun activity rather than listening to the teacher who talk in front of the class explaining something that they do not understand. What usually happened in the classroom is that teacher gives so much speech in front of the class and explains many theories and concepts of the language that the children do not understand about. Because of this reason, the children will start to get bored and play with their friends and make chaos. Then, the teacher will surrender of facing chaos in the classroom and get angry until then scold to the children that will make them feel afraid to study. It is not purely children mistake, but it is happened because teacher does not know how to manage the class and keep the children’s attention.
The teacher should remember that young learners are different from an adult. They are not interested in studying since they do not have motivation from learning yet. They are interested in game, story, tale, song, and other fun activities. In this case, the teacher should be able to manage the class as fun as possible and find an enjoyable ways to teaching the language naturally. It can be done by designing an activity that takes their attention. Playing such kind of games could be a best way to get the children’s attention.
Games are closed to children world and through these children can learn the language naturally since these activities will make them involve into the learning process. It means that they learn directly through listening, watching making interaction, and also moving around. Children learn from an authentic material.
This paper will show how games can be an effective tool for learning activity. Through this paper, the writer expects that teacher can understand how game can bring many benefits if it is implemented in language learning classroom.
1. Games for Teaching Young Learners
Children like playing games since it allow them to have fun and move around the class. They could involve in the games naturally since it is their world. Children could learn through playing and in playing they could interact and develop the language skills through communication. Games also make a wonderful atmosphere in the classroom. Some researchers said that games could improve children’s learning and can be an effective tool for teaching the language. Besides that, games could be highly motivating since games give competition and also challenge for them. Further, in playing the games they could use the language in real context that would make them have strong memory since games make children use the language instead of thinking about the forms and concepts of the language.
Wells (1981) stated that “in working on first language acquisition, found clear evidence that a child who has a lot of opportunities for negotiating meaning - for making sure that he/she has properly understood what is being said develops language skills more rapidly than a child who does not. Games can create these opportunities in the foreign language classroom by setting out situations where children urgently need and want to communicate in order to have a turn at playing, to point out the rules, to...