Playing MFL Games and learning a second language

Jack Lonergan – Language Professor

I was fortunate to have a coffee with Professor Jack Lonergan in a hotel near St Albans. Jack is amongst other things a Director of LTL Training, author, media producer and Emeritus Professor of Applied Linguistics. As an author of over twenty books on language and language learning, he is an undisputed expert in this field. He was kind enough to cast his eye over a KLOO language Games prototype and give me feedback. I took great interest, therefore, when the topic of language learning methods turned to games and he introduced a new term to me, “ludic” – to which I will return to later.

What is the best way to learn a language? Probably not the way you were taught!

Professor Lonergan was pointing out that one of the problems facing language teachers is that they will often assume that the teaching methods that were used to teach them will also be the best method for their students. They often forget that they have an aptitude and passion for languages that their students may not share. What is more, it is simply improbable that their method, of the multitude of methods out there, is the single best method.

It is a problem. Many archaic methods of teaching do persist…Believe it or not one of the most persistent methods is to give 50 words that the students learn by covering up one side of the page and testing yourself. The problem with this method is that words are placed out of context, are not immediately useful, and for many people, is mind numbingly boring. It is a hugely inefficient way to learn.

The power of educational language games

Fortunately, Professor Lonergan, says that ways of teaching languages are changing. There is increased recognition of the power of games that are “ludic” – that word again. It means playful. When we are playing our senses are heightened, we become more receptive and we can learn more. If the game is generative too it means that words can be placed in context and be used by the player in different ways, making it much more useful.

Make useful foreign sentences with French KLOO cards

Easy way to make French Sentences

There is an increasing acknowledgement of the importance of games in education – especially ludic games. It seems to me that ludic is just posh for “fun” – and if we learn faster while having more fun…that has to be a good thing.

And his reaction to KLOO – he loved it but I had better use his own words:

“At first I thought KLOO was just another game. Then I realised this was different. It’s fun, it’s intuitive and, more importantly, it works. It’s a wonderful way to learn a language.” Professor Jack Lonergan, Director, Language Training London

If you’re interested in KLOO Games take a look at our language game ranges:

French Games         Spanish Games         Italian Games         English Games

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