Kids Are Playing

Angelina Mirazchiyska
Angelina Mirazchiyska is an English Teacher to children, youth and adults, certified teacher through Suggestopedia, and author of English Language textbooks for Suggestopedia courses.

Recently, during a class with youth aged 12-14, I remembered a promise given to myself as a kid. What was it and why did it come back to my mind after so many years? Here is the story…

It was late June and our 6th-grade school year had just finished. We were playing “Dodgeball” on small street in the neighbourhood when an angry old man showed up and took away our ball, claiming we were making too much noise.

We moved down the street and brought a new ball, but this time a young woman came out on her balcony and started yelling at us: “Go away, you all! I can’t put my baby to sleep because of you!”

Third time we moved, and suddenly some cold water came down on us! We looked up and saw two young men holding empty basins who shouted: “We’re having a university exam tomorrow and you’re disturbing our studies!”

At this moment, we felt so miserable and upset, that I promised myself I would never drive away or scold playing children, when I grew up – NEVER!

Nowadays, children’s games are quite different, of course, but I have kept my promise so far and, being an English teacher through Suggestopedia, I see daily how important it is for kids to play freely without feeling threatened or judged.

Games are the children’s way to explore the world, build and defend a solid value system, and deal with challenges in life.

Our youth English lessons through Suggestopedia regularly include creative educational games which, apart from developing the young learners’ language skills, encourage them to distinguish good from bad, take responsibility and accept consequences for own actions, find true friends, and make good decisions.

Some kids tend to be fascinated by computer games they play outside class, including violence or money-making obsession, and it is even more important to listen with empathy to their reasons in a non-judgmental way if they decide to open up and share about these games in class.

A possible way to neutralize their unhealthy effects would to find inspirational role models together with the kids and discuss the consequences of bad choices in life, incorporating them in educational games, which can have a powerful and long-lasting positive impact on the students’ attitudes and behaviour in real life.

To illustrate this approach, I would like to share with anyone interested a game I created for my youth English classes called “The Million Dollar Kid”. We have played it with different groups of students, aged 12 to 16, and they truly enjoy to take the roles of adults in this game who have to make choices, experience the consequences, and pursue inspirational dreams and worthy goals in life. What’s more, they become aware that money can simply be one of the means to achieve a dream, but not the dream itself.

Apart from the purely linguistic goals, the game encourages in-depth discussions of universal values, ethic relationships, and meaningful goal-setting, thus contributing to disruptive behaviour prevention and manifestation of students’ best personality.

Kids are playing …