Why hang a man in class?

After all these years, the time has come to release the hanging man from the gallows. Mark Ormerod and his pupils have come up with a way to give Hangman a new lease of life.

Hangman has been played by foreign language teachers and students for years. As a device for practising the pronunciation of letters and the spelling of words, it has always been a classroom favourite for all ages. But once our pupils have become proficient in saying the letters of the alphabet, can we as teachers justify continuing to play Hangman by the traditional rules? Is it an efficient use of our limited classroom time when, in truth, the amount of language practised is merely the spelling of one decontextualised word?

RTEmagicC_Hangman2.jpgA viable solution to this problem, as many teachers have found, is to play Sentence hangman – a game which is the same as traditional Hangman but played with grammatical sentences rather than isolated items of vocabulary. This raises the amount and complexity of language that pupils have to focus on and the sentence, if well chosen, can be clearly contextualised by the teacher. If traditional Hangman is a one-star EFL activity, Sentence hangman must surely be given three stars.

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