The aim of this study is to prove that there is a need for innovative teaching methods in the foreign language classroom. This need arises from the fact that traditional and more conventional teaching methods tend to focus on analytical learning and left brain hemisphere activity, thereby alienating learners that are more inclined to holistic, right brain learning. The current study addresses this problem by showing in which ways the learner of German as a foreign language can benefit from the inclusion of language games in lessons. The research is directed towards indicating that games provide a basis for stimulating all the senses, thereby facilitating total learning. Many learners of German as a foreign language seem to get stuck somewhere in the process of foreign language acquisition, seemingly unable to progress to an acceptable level of communicating/expressing themselves effectively in the foreign language. The objective of this study therefore is to show how the implementation of language games can dynamically work against this problem. Specifically, the goals of this research project are: 1 To show in which ways language games can be used not only to motivate foreign language learners, but also to lift the barrier where motivation has been blocked, 2 To show in which ways language games fulfill the requirements of total learning / holistic learning (using all the senses, stimulating both brain hemispheres etc.), 3 To show in which ways language games form part of a communicative approach, simulating real-life situations, thereby enabling foreign language speakers to communicate more effectively. The type of study conducted in this mini-dissertation is of an interpretive nature. Theories on motivation, total learning, communicative approaches and the didactic value of games/playing are discussed in the various chapters. Information, gathered from various literature sources, has been organized so as to facilitate comparison as data-analysis technique. From the resulting comparisons, the findings of various researchers/authors have been synthesized in order to draw conclusions regarding the role of language games. Some practical recommendations follow to indicate how foreign language lessons can be structured in such a way that language games can be implemented to the benefit of students of German as a foreign language.
Dissertation (MA (German))--University of Pretoria, 2005.