Playing games as a teaching tool

games as a teaching tool

I’m a Scrum Master by profession. That means I’m a facilitator, someone who helps a team of people (developers) get a job done (develop software). Today I found myself using board games as a teaching tool in the office.

Games for teaching, really?

I’ve long been a proponent of using games to teach. Playing games with my kids has been both fun and educational. This does not mean playing games marked as educational but rather games that you can learn from. Just like reading, games take you places. They can immerse you in puzzles or adventure, they can make you laugh when you need one or just get you thinking outside the box.

Something like Stone Age, a euro game through and through, can be used for on the spot multiplication and division while providing a fun game for the whole family. On the other end of the spectrum you have soemthing like Warhammer 40K, a solid ameritrash dice chucker. While you will eventually learn about probability and some tactical thinking you will also learn a skill like painting and your creativity will be pushed in new directions. I personally find that painting is great for when I’m stressed or just need a break from life.

On top of that the lore has over 30 years of background to it. Ronin has read more (about 40K, both stories and rules) in the last 3 months than in the rest of the year combined, that includes all the required reading for grade 5!

Ok, but what about today at work?

So today I took a few games to work. Codenames and Dark Stories. I work with a team which, between it’s members, has 4 different home languages. South Africa is not called the rainbow nation for nothing. We all converse in English and it’s the business language, it’s just not everyone’s first language.

This means we all think and interpret things differently not just culturally but because we think in different languages. Usually when you try to explain things to people you are trying to get them to understand things from your point of view, I had my team members trying to get inside each others heads to figure out how to say things in a way in which they would understand. It was a hit.

Additionally it was fun and 2 people ordered copies of Codenames for their families 😉

So what happens next?

Games make great ice breakers and are also useful for quick intermissions during really long days. Today was one of those long days. We spent 7 hours in a board room, normally that’s really draining but the team just kept wanting to play games. I’m that guy but I found myself having to pull people back to work!

I think I’m going to have to find other quick games which I can use as tools and games that are just for the fun of it. Hopefully I can keep the ball rolling.

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2 thoughts on “Playing games as a teaching tool

  1. My work focuses a lot on communication and listening to the needs and wants of the team and the client.
    I’ve actually really wanted to actually try either Codenames or Resistance with the team.

    I’ve also read quite a few people using Werewolf in a corporate setting. Though I still would prefer Resistance over that one.

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