Video games and its benefits to education have long been debated by parents, educators and experts alike.
Some groups believe that video games do not have any educational value at all and it should be avoided. Others argue that video games do have educational value, and it can even be used for teaching new things to children.
One of the notable things it could teach, some experts argue, is teaching kids new languages, such as Chinese. The Chinese language is argued to be one of the most difficult languages in the world because of the characters it uses and the intricacies of the language when it is used. As a result, beginners tend to shy away from learning Chinese and others struggle in becoming proficient with it.
How Can Video Games Help Teach Kids Chinese?
For kids, teaching this complicated language can be made easy and fun by using mediums like video games.
If you are skeptical about its capacity, here are some of the ways video games can help teach your kids Chinese:
Using Language-Focus Video Game Can Introduce Words and Concepts
Video games are made in various genres, and educational games are quite a lot in the market today.
Some games focus on teaching a certain language and they are designed to increase in level as a child progresses to the next level. These language-focus games can help teach your kids to learn new words, how they are spelled and written, and sometimes, how it can be used in basic sentences.
Of course, some language focus games like Scrabble won’t work because the game does not have a score sheet for Chinese words. However, you can try out games like Codenames, Alias, and Taboo instead since they use Chinese words and can be modified based on its difficulty and number of players.
Video games focused on dialogue and debate helps with speaking and vocabulary
There are video game genres that are filled with a lot of dialogue, which can work very well for learning new languages. As the story progresses, your child will need to focus on what the dialogues contain to learn the intonation of words and how they are used aside from learning what will happen in the story next.
However, the game you should select for your child should be appropriate for their level because the dialogues may get a bit overwhelming depending on the genre selected. Fantasy and adventure games, in particular, do come with long narrations and dialogues which can be hard to read for some players.
You may also need to find your child a playmate who is already familiar with the language or learning it since some of these games are often two-player games. Some sentences may also be confusing to understand because of the word use, so having a second player – preferably one who has already progressed in their Chinese lessons – can assist new players.
If you are looking for games which focus on the dialogue, your child can try out games like Werewolf, Space Alert, The Resistance, and Mafia. If you want to try learning your favorite games’ dialogue in Chinese, you can simply change their settings before you play and select ‘Chinese’ as the language.
Assists in creating stories with the help of video games
Although a majority of games have a specific plot and conclusion, some games allow their players to design the story they want to have.
These video games may provide the basic structure of the story, then provide the parts of the story that the player can add. Other games may provide optional stories that can add a little background to the story being played. Some games may even enable the player to choose the answer they want and reach a different conclusion.
Of course, while playing these games, you can put the settings in Chinese to challenge your child to create a story in the language as a sentence construction training. As your child selects, they get immediate feedback on how a specific answer will come out.
Some examples of games you can introduce to your child which follows this format are Once Upon a Time, Nostalgia, Influent Chinese and StoryCubes.
Learn Chinese Culture by Playing Chinese Video Games
There are some games that were created to learn more about a country’s culture and China has video games that will surely remind players of their heritage.
Some of these games were inspired by stories of historical characters or famous legends. Others took place during real historical events and players can even get the chance to meet historical characters during these video games.
As your child plays these Chinese-inspired or Chinese-based video games, they have the opportunity to speak and listen to famous Chinese lines or stories and have fun at the same time. Your child can also pick up colloquialisms and slang in games which are based in real life China while playing the game.
If you want to look into these inspiring titles, games like Chinese Paladin: Sword and Fairy, Dynasty Warriors, Honor of Kings and Hazy Days.
Repeating video games helps retention
If your child liked the video game so much, they would be enticed to play the game again just to play it in a different difficulty level or take in the game slowly unlike before.
As they play the game, they would be able to recognize commonly used words. These words would then go to their memory bank easily and help them remember when these words are used. Throughout the game, your child will become familiar with the language faster than the first time they were playing it.
Video games help them practice with other players speaking the language
Video games today can now be connected online so friends and other players can share their scores and progress.
This same feature can be exploited during your child’s quest to learn Chinese better, as your child can meet other players who are playing the same game and be friends with them.
While chatting with these players, your child can practice their Chinese proficiency by chatting with them in Chinese. If your child isn’t playing but still want to learn more about the video game, you can redirect them to the game’s forum site which is curated in Chinese and other languages.
Video Games Compliments Other Learning Methods
After your child does their regular Chinese language lessons, it is ideal to integrate the language in some way so they do not forget how it is used.
With the help of video games, your child will continue their lessons even while at home. The video games would serve as their tutor. You do not even have to purchase a console just to allow your child to play in a different language. You can easily download a video game through your smartphone or rent the game through services like Steam.
Video games would also compliment your child’s Chinese language training by enabling them to have fun during the experience. Learning should not be considered a boring thing for children to happen, so letting them play to learn is good!
Learning a new language, especially for children, doesn’t have to be done through the traditional lessons where they memorize and practice from a book or audio guide. Mediums like video games can also help out and make the language easier to pick up and understand through a different format.
Don’t immediately recoil when you hear video games are bad for learning or bad for your child entirely. Do your research and buy the ones that match the criteria we cited above because when your kids play these games, they will be speaking in Chinese in no time! Of course, make sure you regulate your kid’s gaming time before it turns into a bad habit.
Have fun learning!
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