By Dick Tibbetts - Macau University, Macau, China
It might be worth consider- ing what Scrabble can teach and what Scrabblers can learn.
Players can learn vocabulary from their peers and peers have to define words when challenged. I'd ban dictionaries for finding words and use something reputable like the advanced learners dic. as an authority for judging.
Scrabble games with NS are used to aid spelling but this isn't so useful with Chinese learners because they learn the spelling before they learn pronunciation and before they are truly familiar with meaning and usage. NS who can't spell often have a wide vocabulary and Scrabble gives them an incentive to hone their spelling.
Scrabble can give practice in the function of challeng- ing and querying.
"Hey, I've never seen that before."
"I don't think that's in the dictionary"
These qualified challenges are useful subtleties in the art of argument.
Scrabble gives learners opportunities to use some of the meta-language of dictionaries in a natural situation. They can challenge by saying "That's a loan word/archaic/slang etc." I'm not sure how useful this is but it is there and it does happen.
Photo: 45 college students, working in teams, playing Scrabble in Guangzhou, China. The board is projected onto a screen.