Why are we reserving games for juniors and assume that our adults English students will be more eager to attend a boring type of English class?


Games are now considered a great way to teach, and especially to teach English. Once considered little fillers to use every now and then to spice up our lessons, they now often represent a fundamental part of our activities as teachers, to engage and motivate our students. But why do we reserve games only to juniors and assume that adults will be more prone to a boring type of teaching?

I interviewed Celeste Grimau, the owner of the school Steps, in Patagonia (Argentina), who in the city of Bariloche invented a unique method to teach English to adults, offering them practical experiences and playing games together.

It all started with Celeste’s experience as a child, with her grandmother who taught her to make a cake. She still remembers the recipe today and it is because of the relaxed state of mind of her brain when she learned it. For this reason, she has built a kitchen in her school, that her students can use to learn English, carrying out practical and fun activities.

Adult learners are often more embarrassed than teens to challenge themselves, exposing their insecurities. Speaking a foreign language in front of peers can become an unpleasant experience. Each student arrives with a professional and personal background. Many of her adult students are great professionals in their field, who for professional reasons need to improve their English (Steps students also include nuclear engineers). This is not always their choice and the initial mental state is often negative.

That’s why through the game, Celeste and her team are able to break these mental barriers and have remarkable results in a short time.

Using positivity and creativity, they manage to direct the student’s attention to the direction they want, letting them forget their fears, hesitations, and prejudices.

I tried some of these methods during our interview (those that could be experimented remotely) and I confirm that it is a very pleasant way to work, to get in tune quickly.

Celeste Grimau is also the author of several books on games called Vitamin Shock Games and if you are interested in purchasing them or doing a workshop with Celeste Grimauto to learn her methods, you can contact her at [email protected].

Thanks, Celeste for this great interview!