The Importance of Educational Marble Games in Teaching German

Prof. Dr., Gaziosmanpaşa University, Faculty of Education


Problem Statement: By considering the innovations in the field of communication, the inter-relationship between cultures, and the developments in the world, the Ministry of Education has started to take measures for students to learn languages such as German, French, Russian, Spanish, Japanese, Italian, Arabic, etc., in educational institutions in addition to English. For example, two foreign languages are taught in the Anatolian high schools. Since more and more classic high schools are converted into Anatolian high schools, the need for dual foreign language lessons and the teachers who can give these lessons is increasing. The Board for Higher Education has introduced second foreign language lessons in the foreign language teacher programs, envisioned as three semester programs in order for language teachers to gain experience in the field of two languages. Private education institutes are drawing more students by emphasizing their instruction of more than one foreign language. In some districts of certain major cities, teaching foreign languages has started as early as kindergarten. In Turkey, in the basic education, primary schools, secondary schools and higher education institutes, German is the preferred second foreign language in general. The quality of German language lessons should be improved to encourage more students to elect German as their second foreign language.

Purpose of the Study: The purposes of this research is to explain the development of the educational marble game, review the effect of the game on the success of learning German as a second language, and reveal how this lesson is planned. Observations were made, photographs were taken and reports were written during the implementation. A 24-item test was used as pre-test and post-test during the German course while they were learning vocabulary at Hacettepe University, Faculty of Education, Department of Foreign Language Education, Division of English Language Teaching.

Method: This study is a quasi-experimental study. The researcher began to design educational games in the early 1990s to draw the students’ attention to the lessons and to ensure they retain what is taught. These games were developed at a university and tested at the German School in Ankara and other Turkish schools (Coşkun, 2004, pp. 37-54; Coşkun, 2005, pp. 187-218). Expert opinions were taken during the design of the educational games and the implementation stages. Photographs were taken during the implementation of the games, reports were prepared, and notes were taken during the observations (Glesne, 2011, p. 6). This research was conducted during the 2012/2013 academic year on 80 students who elected German as a second foreign language at the Hacettepe University, Faculty of Education, Department of Foreign Language Education, Division of English Language Teaching. Students focused on vocabulary learning in both the control (group A) and experimental (group B) groups. Before making the ANCOVA analysis, people at the limit values in the data, those who did not participate in the preliminary or final tests and those who were absent during the lessons were eliminated (deleted) from the analysis. At the end of this process, an analysis was conducted on a total of 64 people, with 34 in the experiment group and 30 in the control group. Group A was taught in the traditional method and group B was taught through the use of the educational marble game. A pre-test was applied to both groups before the lessons and a final test was given at the end of the lessons after one week.

Findings and Results: The ANCOVA results show that the average score of the experiment group (which used the educational marble game) was meaningfully higher than the control group that used the traditional method. With the help of educational games it is possible to capture the students’ interest and keep them busy in German classes for a long time. It is important that educational games are developed with special regard to educational sciences and socio-pedagogy. Classifying the games as primary or supplementary and supporting them with materials will make them effective in guiding the students. During the implementation, the students showed great interest in the marble game and all the students participated in the lessons. As in the case of the food names lesson, the students in group B learned the words better than the students in group A.

Conclusion and Recommendation: It was concluded that vocabulary learning through the use of the educational marble game method was more effective than the success of the students on which the traditional method was used. Therefore, the educational marble game is a method that could be effective in vocabulary lessons. Educational games should be used in lessons so the students show more interest in German lessons and are motivated to learn German during the rest of the semester. Educational games should be developed with the help of educational sciences and social pedagogy and implemented in this manner. When developing such educational materials, students’ knowledge of their mother tongue and foreign language(s) should be considered. Additionally, the target group’s age and interests should be taken into account.

Keywords: Teaching German as a foreign language, educational marble game, design of the game, implementation.