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Harness a passion for learning a language

For years, parents have been told to limit their kids’ screen time, but maybe that wisdom needs a re-think…

When Renata Mojola was seven, she got hooked on playing PC game Heroes of Might and Magic III. The only trouble was, as she grew up in Brazil, Portuguese is the first language for most people, and the game’s instructions and menus were in English. It was tough going for her to always understand what was required.

Though she was already learning English at school, she wasn’t anywhere near proficient enough to cope with all the language being used in the game. She asked her teacher for help with specific words, and  her older cousins were able to explain broadly what she needed to know to play, but it was the game itself and her passion for it that fuelled her English-language acquisition.

“The simplistic storytelling and slow pace of turn-based strategy games gave me the time to figure out key words and understand what effect they had,” she says on the PCGames website. “I learned the basics of grammar at my language school, but it was Heroes of Might and Magic III that taught me most about vocabulary.”

Renata is now a part-time English teacher herself, so the take-away here? If you want to motivate students, get them to harness their language learning to a passion. Oh, and maybe screen time isn’t all bad for kids.

Image courtesy of Heroes of Might and Magic III
Liz Granirer
Liz Granirer
Liz has been a journalist for many years. She is currently editor of EL Gazette and has previously edited the magazines Young Performer, StepForward and Accounting Technician; been deputy editor on Right Start magazine; chief sub editor on Country Homes & Interiors; and sub editor on easyJet Traveller, Lonely Planet and Family Traveller magazines, along with a number of others.
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