Role playing games for language learning?

Third World Farmer: Wheat and corn are planted, but I can't afford a chicken, and my kids are sick…

The (free) online role-playing game Third World Farmer is one I'd come across before, and one I'd recommended to language learners — as one they might like to play in their own time, outside class. In reading, and understanding, and responding to the instructions, I think they would learn some English, in an enjoyable game, which might also heighten their awareness of some of the problems people in the third world face.

But maybe in fact it's one that you could use in class with learners… I very much liked the ideas for using the game on Nik Peachey's blog.

We should be using technology "not just to play but to learn language", as someone (Gordon?) who came to my CELTA session today suggested. Nik suggests getting people to do such things as compare strategies, rate and debate the game… There is "language" in the understanding and playing of the game and a lot more language (and interaction) in talking about the game…

You want to build that "after-the-technology" stage into your lesson plan.

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