English Learning through Play

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Let Students Learn through Play –

Promoting Active and Pleasurable English Learning through Play

in Key Stage 1


Project Team:

Fiona PERRY, Geoff BROWN, Joey VENTER, Jojo CHAN, Mary HUI, Roland SMITH, Winnie SO


Winnie SO

Advisory Teaching Team, NET Section




Whole-class Activities

• Story

• Song


• Background

• Research Questions

• Project Objectives

• Project Design

Station Activities

• Small World Play

• Sensory Play

• Language Game

• Independent Learning

Commitment +




through Play

in Action


Why Play?

In play children develop exploratory as well as explanatory drives: they actively look for patterns, test hypotheses and seek explanations, leading to increased complexity in thinking,

learning and understanding (Gopnik et al, 1999). These cognitive processes are socially and culturally situated and,

through the subject disciplines, can become increasingly refined.

(Wood, E. & Attfield, J., 2005)


Why Play?

Apart from being an ideal mode of activity

fostering children’s physical and psychological development, play facilitates the development of creativity, problem-solving skills and

versatility, and it also helps children express emotions, build confidence and develop social skills. (CDC, 2017)


Pleasurableplay is enjoyable. Play sometimes includes frustrations, challenges and fears; however enjoyment is a key feature.

Active play requires action, either physical, verbal or mental engagement with materials, people, ideas or the environment.

Voluntary play is freely chosen. However, players can also be invited or prompted to play.

Process-oriented play is a means unto itself and players may not have an end or goal in sight.

Self-motivating play is considered its own reward to the player (Shipley, 2008) .

(Barblett, L. , 2010)

Small world play utilises miniature equipment representing objects familiar to children, e.g. a house with furniture and a family.

(Levy, 2008)

Sensory play involves playing with natural material and realia, e.g. sand, water, clay, dough, paper, branches.



Using first-hand experiences


Making up rules


Making props


Choosing to play


Rehearsing the future




Trying out recent learning


Co-ordinating ideas, feelings and relationships for free flow play (where kids are allowed to move freely indoors and outdoors however they please)


(Briggs M. & Hansen A., 2012)



To explore and develop approaches to developing a learning environment conducive to students’ learning of English through play;

To develop classroom routines that facilitate the adoption of playful approaches to literacy development;

To design, conduct and review English learning activities that promote active and pleasurable English learning through play;

Toengage participating teachers in developing, using and reviewing strategies for preparing students for, and engaging them in, active and pleasurable learning English through play;

To develop students’ creativity, social and collaboration skills, problem-solving skills, self- confidence, self-respect and respect for others; and

To develop, use and review strategies for using assessment for and as learning in a play-based learning environmentto promote self-directed learning


 Is there a place for play in the KS1 English Language curriculum?

 To what extent can playful learning and teaching be promoted in the English language classroom?

 What practices can be built on to promote playful learning and teaching?

 What contextual constraints are there hindering the adoption of playful approaches to literacy? How to address those constraints?

 What are the conditions that need to be established to facilitate the implementation of play-based learning?

 What changes need to be made to existing practices in terms of curriculum design, teaching, learning and assessment?

 How to gauge the effectiveness of playful approaches to literacy?

 …


The project is to be implemented, reviewed, refined and completed within

a three-year time frame.


What may a Playful Unit be like?


Involving Children in the Planning Process


Step One

Choose theme and concepts


Step Two

Plan the unit together


Step Three

Carry out the plan



Step Four

Review and adjust the plan

Involving Children in the Planning Process



Step Five

Demonstrate and review learning

Choose theme and concepts

Plan the unit together

Carry out the plan

Review and adjust the plan

Demonstrate and review learning

Involving Children in the Planning Process


Small World Play

Sensory Play

Language Game Independent Learning


culture of collaboration

project coordinator and committed

teaching team sharing values that support playful teaching and learning, committing to PD

time for observation to facilitate assessment and planning for progression

flexible with teaching schedules and modes of assessment

(allowing more space for experimenting with playful teaching and learning ideas)

careful planning, organisation &

management of the environment

allocation of an annual budget

collaborating with AT

appropriate storage and care of resources on loan from EDB

providing feedback on project

implementation and evaluation

• supporting

dissemination of good practices


Place your screenshot here

Net scheme e-platform

Fostering Learning Communities Among International



Appendix Cof the EDB Circular Memorandum No.5/2019

School Application Form to be completed by School Head and sent to:

EDB Human Resources Management Unit at 4/F, East Wing,

Central Government Offices, 2 Tim Mei Avenue, Tamar

Complete Appendix B (Annexes 1-3)and Appendix C (Part IV) if your school wishes to nominate a teacher for secondmentto the NET Section.

Deadline for Application:

5 March 2019



Ms Christy NG

(Life-wide Learning Section) Tel: 2892 5824

Project-related Ms Winnie SO

(Native-speaking English Teacher Section) Email: winniewlso@edb.gov.hk

Tel: 3549 8317



Any questions?


Department of Education and Training (2009). Belonging, Being & Becoming – The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia. Australia Government.

Barblett, L. (2010). Why play-based learning? Every Child, 16(3), 4-5.

Briggs M. & Hansen A. (2012). Play-based Learning in the Primary School. London: Sage.

Curriculum Development Council (2017). Kindergarten Education Curriculum Guide: Joyful Learning through Play, Balanced Development All the Way. Hong Kong: Education Bureau.

Levy R. (2008). “Third spaces” are interesting places: Applying “third space theory” to nursery aged children’s constructions of themselves as readers’, Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 8(1):43-66.

Shipley, D. (2008). Empowering children. Play-based curriculum for lifelong learning.(Fourth edn). USA:

Nelson Education.

Walsh G., McMillan D. & McGuinness C. (Eds). (2017). Playful Teaching and Learning. London: Sage.

Wood, E. & Attfield, J. (2005). Play, learning and the early childhood curriculum (2nd ed). London: Paul Chapman.




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