What would happen if we transformed an exam practice or a revision into a room full of puzzles to so

In the current world of ELT, within the emerging methodologies and the incorporation of the newest technological advances it is sometimes difficult to get the best out of our students and keep their attention throughout a lesson.However attractive the materials are and the way to deliver the content is, how much of it provides students’ engagement in the tasks we prepare?

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Students look for fresh ideas and a whole lot of excitement in their English classes, the more engaging the better, therefore they need to be sort of tricked into learning. One of the ways of making them learn without even noticing it is transforming one of the existing sources of entertainment - the Escape Rooms, which provide us with 60-minute thrill of finding our way out of the locked room by solving a wide array of puzzles, enigmas and involving our creative mind to the utmost.

Why not taking this tremendous idea and use it in our classrooms?

Slowly but steadily, I started my marathon of Escape Rooms: every occasion was good to do it, even when travelling, Escape Room became a MUST thing to do next to visiting the famous monument in any European capital. After having done 30 of them I took the decision: I will take it to the classroom. From then on, my friends and family became guinea pigs testing the escape rooms I was preparing for my students.

It was a BLAST, for me as a teacher – an incredibly creative process – and for my students: every revision, special event was an occasion to work on their team building skills, communication and critical thinking, their engagement in the activity allowed them to perform better in class later on. It was fun combined with a lesson – a perfect environment for learning.

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The project included the famous 4 Cs that are a vital element in every effective lesson:

  • Communication: the key to escape is communication with other team members, using the language as a tool to escape
  • Collaboration: student can only escape if thy work together, which enhances team building skills
  • Creativity: students are forced to think outside the box as what they see is not necessarily what they think it is
  • Critical & Logical Thinking: if one solution does not work student need to think of a different one

It brought amazing results and added value to classroom engagement. To be continued on example puzzles and enigmas.

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