Tom Vandevelde & Anneke Salden

Proficiency through play: board games in the EFL classroom

Audience focus: Teachers of young learners,Teachers of adolescent learners, Teacher trainers, Freelance teachers


De Bruyckere, Hulshof and Missine identify play as “the chief purveyor of physical, cognitive and social development” (De Bruyckere et al. 2021, 132 – our translation).
Indeed, when used correctly, games may prove an enticing, motivating and effective classroom tool.
Following a brief introduction on games and didactics, we cover a variety of board and card games and how they may function as an effective tool in the EFL classroom. For each game, we provide a quick introduction, potential applications, ways to adapt the game to the students’ proficiency level and pitfalls one should look to avoid. The games to be discussed will feature both classics (e.g. Time’s Up!, memory games, Black Stories) and lesser known games (Spyfall, Timeline, Wavelength, Illusion, etc.).
At the end of the seminar, participants will receive information sheets on each of the games discussed.


Following a ten year stint completing a PhD and teaching English and literary theory at KU Leuven, Tom Vandevelde is now the head of didactics at Roeland vzw, a non-profit organisation that organises language camps for children.
Anneke Salden is a secondary school teacher of English. In her free time, she is a crazy volunteer for Roeland vzw language camps and a passionate board game player.