Um, how do you actually avoid being competitive and losers losing joy and interest, doing games that have winners and losers? In spite of my intention and great efforts to encourage them by applause and cheers, they will sulk and turn away, and the winners reign triumphant.
Good question. I'm certainly no expert in this field, I'll just write about what I've experienced with my classes.
If you're their first teacher and you've never played a competitive game, and you get them when they're young enough, the kids may not know about winners or losers yet (the Big World's dirty little secret
). In that case, you're lucky and you can just praise individuals or groups for any task that they accomplish. They may never notice someone was faster than they were .
If the class does already perceive winners and losers when you play team games you can minimize the effect of losing. As much as possible, I try to not count points on the board with young kids. I try not to dwell on the ending of the game, I have everyone clap together at the end and then quickly move on to the next activity. If crying or sulking happens, I try to just acknowledge any disappointment anyone has and again, move on quickly.
In the 7-8 year old range and up, I do count points, but try to have more than 2 teams. Then at least there are 2 "losers". When I can, I also try to give points when kids help each other, or for being the first team to sit still and be quiet, etc. It can get rather complicated, but you can devise winners in different categories. Also, I try to make new teams every class so no one
team will dominate all the games ever played over time (can you tell that I learned that the hard way
). mesmark, another member of this site, wrote about how he does reorganizes teams during game time in this thread
But you're right. Sometimes no matter what you do you can't make the kids feel happy
after they lose a game. -Um, me neither.
I don't want to get too philosophic -this topic is making me unexpectedly reflective
-, but that's just how our societies are built. Best just to try to give all kids a fair shot at winning something
over the course of time. I guess I'd just add that as teachers we have the power to choose to reward behaviour that isn't always rewarded in society- for example, quietness or helpfulness, rather than the obvious fastest, most questions answered, etc.
Noriko, do you have a special method of dealing with the sulkers in your classes? What works best for you? What kind of games work best in your preschool classes?