Spielend Lernen Spielend Lehren: Games in TEFL and TEFL teacher education
Developing skills in a foreign language can be a very serious matter. Language skills can be essential in gaining or maintaining employment, in being able to access information from a wide range of sources, in building relationships around the globe, and in being able to share one’s own experiences and opinions with a wider audience. But all work and no play does not necessarily achieve these important goals faster. In German, we have the fixed expression "Spielend Lernen", literally "learn while playing/gaming". I will share with you work undertaken to better understand how "Spielend Lernen" can be implemented in teaching English as a foreign language, especially with a focus on developing plurilingual competencies, i.e. competencies that build on one’s full linguistic repertoire. Specifically, I will discuss how the notion of "identity" helps us understand the potential of games for plurilingual education. Playing and games do not lose their relevance on the day we graduate from high school. I want to go beyond a focus on pupils and include a focus on teacher education, suggesting an analogue of "Spielend Lernen": "Spielend Lehren" (teaching while playing/gaming). Drawing on the notion of "apprenticeship of observation" and using examples from my own practices in TEFL teacher education I will argue that playful approaches and games have an important role to play in preparing pre-service teachers for a playful and gameful classroom.