Game-Based Learning for Pupils with Speacial Needs

Learning is a process by which pupils may acquire knowledge, skills and abilities necessary for their personal and social life.

Learning as a process involves: the transmission of  knowledge from the teacher to pupils (i.e., the teacher is a performer) and the participation of pupils (i.e., pupils participate by using their previous knowledge and accumulate new knowledge in the course of this process).

In the process of learning, we memorize 10% of what we read, 20% of what we hear, 30% of what we see, 50% of what we see and hear at the same time, 80% of what we say, 90% what we say and do at the same time.

Learning can be done by simulating, by playing at different disciplines (trips to an imaginary map, battles, wars, or historical events). It is a formative method and has an active-participative character, pupils participating directly and consciously in documenting, proposing solutions, and interpreting roles.

A game is a form of organizing cognition and, implicitly, a way of organizing knowledge, being a specific human activity. The rules of games are the rules of learning. For a little child, a game is a central activity. A child has a playful motivation in relation to the objects, but after the age of 6, games must have a educational role, and finally at adulthood games become a relaxing activity. The stages of cognition development correspond to a precise forms of play.

Each educational game includes: content, a didactic task, the rules of the game, and the action of the game.

Optimal learning conditions are the goal and motivation of pupils, which are fully met by using games in the learning process.

The educational value of games has been recognized  by Plato since Antiquity, but also by the Renaissance thinkers.

For pupils with special needs, a game is a permanent form of a learning process.

In the Romanian special education system, the entire learning activity is structured around games. It is more engaging for pupils with special needs to get involved in a game activity than to ask them to work on certain tasks as happens for “ordinary” pupils.

A didactic game stimulates pupils’ initiative and creativity. Children are more easily mobilized, engaged, when they know that they are playing. A game has a therapeutic role, it is a source of satisfaction through the rewards they receive, it eliminates stress, fatigue, fear of failure, channeling energy to attractive and tonic activities.

It can be seen that the importance of game-based learning cannot be disputed. By playing, by creating games, the pupil is in the situation of being an actor and not just a spectator.