• Author: Jonathan deHaan
  • Peer-reviewed: βœ…
  • Peer-reviewers: Yiting Han, Niall McFadyen, Fredrick Poole, James York
  • Date of publication: 2020/04/15
  • Keywords: Afterschool education, Creativity, Critical thinking, EFL, Elementary school children, Game rules, Keep it super simple, L1 (Japanese), Lesson plan, Remixing, Tabletop games, Transformation
  • Cite: deHaan, J. (2020). Jidoukan Jenga: Teaching English through remixing games and game rules. Ludic Language Pedagogy, 2, 37-40.

Tweet Synopsis

Let students play simple games in their L1. It’s ok!


  • You, the teacher, can help them critique the game in their L2.
  • You, the teacher, can help them change the game in their L2.
  • You, the teacher, can help them develop themselves.

#dropthestick #dropthecarrot #bringmeaning

Key points

  • πŸ“ What is this? This is a recollection of a short lesson with some children. I used Jenga and a dictionary.
  • πŸ“ Why did you make it? I want to show language teachers that simple games, and playing simple games in students’ first language can be a great foundation for helping students learn new vocabulary, think critically, and exercise creativity.
  • πŸ“ Why is it radical? I taught using a simple board game (at a time when video games are over-focused on in research). I show what the learning looks like (I include a photo). The teaching and learning didn’t occur in a laboratory setting, but in the wild (in a community center). I focused on the learning around games.
  • πŸ“ Who is it for? Language teachers can easily implement this lesson using Jenga or any other game. Language researchers can expand on the translating and remixing potential around games.

The Playground Item β†―

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