Journal Article

Online games for young learners’ foreign language learning

Yuko Goto Butler, Yuumi Someya and Eiji Fukuhara

in ELT Journal

Volume 68, issue 3, pages 265-275
Published in print July 2014 | ISSN: 0951-0893
Published online June 2014 | e-ISSN: 1477-4526 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/elt/ccu008
Online games for young learners’ foreign language learning

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  • Language Acquisition
  • Teaching English as a Foreign or Second Language
  • Language Learning (Specific Skills)
  • Language Teaching Theory and Methods

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Young learners’ use of instructional games in foreign language learning is not yet well understood. Using games that were part of the learning tools for an online assessment, Jido-Eiken, a standardized English proficiency test for young learners in Japan, we examined young learners’ game-playing behaviours and the relationship of these behaviours with learning outcomes. The participants were 3,945 children aged 4 to 12. We found that games that children played with relative frequency tended to share a set of features, including being cognitively demanding, evoking one’s curiosity, offering greater player control, and having multiple players. The frequency of plays decreased as the age increased in many games that we examined, but gender differences were hardly observed. We found different relational patterns between young learners’ game scores and English performance depending on the games and difficulty levels of the assessment. We discuss the implications for instructional game developers and teachers of young language learners.

Journal Article.  4303 words. 

Subjects: Language Acquisition ; Teaching English as a Foreign or Second Language ; Language Learning (Specific Skills) ; Language Teaching Theory and Methods

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