Entertainment Games for Teaching English as a Second Language Characteristics and Potential

Main Article Content

Gabriel Savonitti Joao Mattar


This article explores the use of entertainment games for teaching English as a second language. It is a narrative literature review of theories of motivation and learning. To facilitate the choice of didactic resources to be used in the English classroom by teachers, this study brings to light the characteristics relevant to teaching that can be found in games, associated with different genres. In this sense, 14 researches involving digital games of entertainment were analyzed, using as basis Gardner’s theories of motivation in the teaching, games and the active learner of Gee, zone of proximal development of Vygotsky, tangential learning model of Portnow and Brown, model of the monitor, Krashen’s input hypothesis, Schumann’s acculturation model, and the hypothesis of the interaction proposed by several authors such as Gass and Larsen-Freeman and Long. The results obtained were the definition of the relevant characteristics to teaching and learning in games and the identification of the genres associated to these characteristics. The discussion used the following characteristics found in the analyzed texts: motivation, classroom interaction, social interaction in the game, tangential learning, grades, complementary material, vocabulary, repetitive written content, big written content, need for text interpretation, audio and text.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Savonitti, G., & Mattar, J. (2018). Entertainment Games for Teaching English as a Second Language. International Journal for Innovation Education and Research, 6(2), 188-207. Retrieved from http://ijier.net/ijier/article/view/970


Anderson, T. A., Reynolds, B. L., Yeh, X. P., & Huang, G. Z. (2008, November). Video games in the English as a foreign language classroom. In Digital Games and Intelligent Toys Based Education, 2008 Second IEEE International Conference on (pp. 188-192). IEEE.
Antonopoulos, A. (2014). An investigation into how Massively Multi-player On-line Role-playing Games can enhance the process of learning English as a foreign language, with specific reference to the reading and writing skills of Greek University students. Graduating Paper, Department of English and Languages, Coventry University, United Kingdom. Retrieved from http://www.academia.edu/download/34180836/English_and_TEFL_BA_dissertation.docx
Brown, H. D. (2007). Teaching by principles: An interactive approach to language pedagogy. 3rd ed. Pearson Education ESL.
Brown, T., Li, H., Nguyen, A., Rivera, C., & Wu, A. (2014). Development of tangential learning in video games. Retrieved from https://goo.gl/uLPD0f
Chian-Wen, K. A. O. (2014). The effects of digital game-based learning task in English as a foreign language contexts: A meta-analysis. Education Journal, 42(2), 113–141.
Chiu, Y., Kao, C., & Reynolds, B. L. (2012). The relative effectiveness of digital game‐based learning types in English as a foreign language setting: A meta‐analysis. British Journal of Educational Technology, 43(4), E104–E107.
Ellis, R. (1997). Second language acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Gardner, R. C. (1985). Social psychology and language learning: The role of attitudes and motivation. London: Edward Arnold.
Gass, S. M. (2003). Input and interaction. In C. J. Doughty, & M. H. Long (Ed.), Handbook of second language acquisition (pp. 224–256). Oxford: Blackwell.
Gee, J. P. (2003). What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. New York, Palgrave Macmillan.
Gee, J. P. (2008). Learning and games. In Katie Salen (Ed.), The ecology of games: Connecting youth, games, and learning (pp. 21–40). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Krashen, S. D. (2009). Principles and practice in second language acquisition. 1st internet edition. Retrieved from http://www.sdkrashen.com/content/books/principles_and_practice.pdf
Larsen-Freeman, D., & Long, M. H. (1994). An introduction to second language acquisition research. New York: Longman.
Luiz, R. B. (2011). Adaptação do jogo de RPG comercial Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition para o ensino de inglês. Master’s Dissertation, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba, Brasil.
Menezes, J. (2013). Jogos sociais digitais como ambiente de aprendizagem da língua inglesa. Master’s Dissertation, Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos, São Leopoldo, Brasil.
Miller, M., & Hegelheimer, V. (2006). The SIMs meet ESL incorporating authentic computer simulation games into the language classroom. Interactive Technology and Smart Education, 3(4), 311–328.
Noroozloo, N., Ahmadi, S. D., & Mehrdad, A. G. (2015). The effect of using a digital computer game (SIMS) on children’s incidental English vocabulary learning. Cumhuriyet Science Journal, 36(3), 1991–2000.
Oktafiya, I. S. (2014). Improving student’s vocabulary mastery through pictionary game in English language teaching (a classroom action research at the second grade students of SMP N 3 Salatiga in the academic year 2013/2014). Graduating Papers (Sarjana Pendidikan Islam — S.Pd.I), English Department of Educational Faculty, State Institute of Islamic Studies (STAIN), Salatiga.
Portnow, J. (2008). The power of tangential learning. Edge. Retrieved from http://archive.li/kUXZI
Ranalli, J. (2008). Learning English with The Sims: exploiting authentic computer simulation games for L2 learning. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 21(5), 441–455.
Reinders, H., & Wattana, S. (2011). Learn English or die: the effects of digital games on interaction and willingness to communicate in a foreign language. Digital Culture & Education, 3(1), 3–29.
Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55(1), 68–78.
Santos, V. R. F. (2011). Os jogos MMORPG como auxiliares no processo de aquisição de língua inglesa. Master’s Dissertation, Faculdade de Letras da Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brasil.
Sardone, N. B., & Devlin-Scherer, R. (2010). Digital games for English classrooms. Teaching English with Technology, 10(1), 35–50.
Schumann, John H. (1986). Research on the acculturation model for second language acquisition. Journal of Multilingual & Multicultural Development, 7(5), 379–392.
Shahriarpour, N., & Kafi Z. (2014). On the effect of playing digital games on Iranian intermediate EFL learners’ motivation toward learning English vocabularies. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 98, 1738–1743.
Smolinski, C. (2013). Aprendendo inglês com pinguins: O desenvolvimento linguístico através do jogo eletrônico Club Penguin. Revista Prâksis, 10(2), 73–82.
Soares, W. C. S. (2012). A aprendizagem de inglês mediada por jogos eletrônicos do tipo MMORPG. Master’s Dissertation, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Natal, Brasil.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society. Harvard University Press.