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Didactic potential of intellectual games in teaching scanning

Shirlina Elena Nikolaevna

ORCID: 0000-0001-7397-6985

PhD in Philology

Associate Professor at the Department of Foreign and Russian Languages at the Russian State Agrarian University - Moscow Timiryazev Agricultural Academy

308007, Russia, Belgorod region, Belgorod, Sadovaya str., 13, sq. 6

Kostina Natalya Ivanovna

PhD in Pedagogy

Associate Professor at the Second Foreign Language Department, Belgorod State National Research University

308007, Russia, Belgorod region, Belgorod, Studentskaya str., 14

Kostina Dar'ya Mikhailovna

PhD in Philology

Associate Professor at the Second Foreign Language Department, Belgorod State National Research University

308007, Russia, Belgorod region, Belgorod, Studentskaya str., 14










Abstract: The authors consider the role of scanning in the formation of linguistic and general academic competences, the skills needed to find the necessary information in the text, the stages of work on the text, as well as the difficulties associated with the teaching of scanning. The focus is on the role of active reading and gamification elements in overcoming these difficulties. The aim of the paper is to establish the extent to which active pre-reading and teamwork in a competitive environment will affect students' motivation to learn scanning and the quality of the acquisition of information. The article gives recommendations on how to organize the learning of exploratory reading in the format of an intellectual game and gives an example of an intellectual game "What? Where? When?" on the basis of a country study text. The novelty of the research consists in the authors' proposed approach to intellectual games as a tool not only for assessing students' knowledge, but also for shaping students' scanning competence. The intellectual game which was held with the students of non-language specialties allowed to reveal the main advantages and difficulties of using such a format, to find ways of overcoming them, to work out the recommendations for conducting intellectual games based on the work with the text. The results allowed us to confirm the hypothesis about the increase of motivation to reading through intellectual game activity, the ability to concentrate on the content of the text and not only on the language aspect, as well as increasing the level of cognitive activity.


scanning, gamification, motivation, brain game, pre-reading stage, reading stage, after-reading, interdisciplinary competence, active reading, heuristic competence

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

Today, reading remains one of the main means of learning a foreign language. Understanding written texts and extracting the necessary information from them is required to confirm the level of language proficiency in the framework of intermediate and final certification at all levels of training of students of both linguistic and non-linguistic specialties. Formed reading skills are required not only for mastering a foreign language. So, in the process of research, many students experience difficulties in selecting literature and analyzing it, for example, they cannot rationally use additional literature on the topic, as a result of which they duplicate information, instead of extracting new data from other sources.

However, reading should be considered not only as a basic competence, consisting in the ability to decode text, but also as a complex process of solving a problem [9, p. 32]. It is the ability to understand written texts, analyze and use them for certain purposes, acquire knowledge and develop their intellectual potential to actively participate in public life [8].

One of the main didactic tasks facing teachers of a foreign language is to achieve a balance between teaching effective (fast) reading and high-quality assimilation of what they read. Therefore, intensive, slow and thoughtful reading plays an important role in the process of learning a foreign language, which provides the necessary degree of understanding of the information read and the ability to select texts suitable for revealing a certain topic [5, p. 35].

In accordance with the goal , there are usually four types of reading: 1) viewing, the main purpose of which is a general acquaintance with the purpose of determining the relevance of the information presented in it; 2) introductory reading, which is aimed at understanding the general meaning and highlighting key information; 3) learning reading, which is aimed at the most detailed understanding of the information presented in the text; 4) search reading, which is focused on search for certain information in the text [4].

There are more detailed classifications. So, in German linguodidactics, there are: 1) das ?berfliegende Lesen (skimming, viewing/ introductory reading); 2) das kursorische Lesen (scanning, search reading); 3) das intensive Lesen (close reading / detailed reading, slow reading / learning reading); 4) das selektive Lesen (selective reading); 5) das analysierende Lesen (analyzing reading); 6) das redigierende Lesen / Korrekturlesen (editorial reading). Alfred Brink notes that there is another type creative reading (das kreative/ inspirierende Lesen), which is aimed not at finding specific information, but at formulating one's own ideas or hypotheses based on the text read [5, p. 36].

For any kind of reading, the importance of such a method as active reading is noted, in which it is recommended to make notes and comments in the text. With their help, they highlight the main arguments, incomprehensible and controversial information, show logical connections between parts of the text. Active reading also involves synthesizing the information received after reading the text, for example, transmitting the content of the text in your own words, visualizing (for example, using a mental map) or including the information received in a broader context [11].

Search reading contributes to the formation of a number of skills: "to highlight information related to a particular topic / problem; to find the necessary facts, data, examples, arguments; to select and group information according to certain characteristics; to predict the content of an entire text based on known concepts, terms, etc.; to navigate the text by putting forward a number of hypotheses; to analyze proposals, paragraphs; find fragments of text that require detailed study" [2, p. 193].

Search reading requires careful work with the text, which includes three main stages: the pre-text stage, the stage of direct work with the text and the post-text stage. At the preparatory stage, there is a removal of linguistic and semantic difficulties, which should facilitate the search for the necessary information in the process of working with the text. It includes a viewing reading aimed at highlighting the topic and the main idea and activating background knowledge. This is followed by a detailed reading with elements of analysis, which includes the formation of an idea of the structure of the text, the selection of keywords, semantics (working with a dictionary), synthesis, i.e. comprehension and systematization of what was read, as well as the search for additional information. The post-text stage involves the synthesis of the received information and often represents the compilation of a secondary text.

Thus, working on the text is difficult and time-consuming, and search reading is preceded by other types of reading. This type of work requires high concentration of attention, which cannot be achieved in the absence of motivation. As a solution to the problem, we can propose the introduction of gamification elements in the form of an intellectual game.

In the most general sense, gamification technology is understood as "the use of game elements and techniques used in game design in non-game contexts to achieve non-game goals" [1]. The principle of gamification is that game elements such as a set of tools and a set of rules are used to achieve non-game goals. At the same time, it is not necessary to create a full-fledged game [3, p. 9].

The main goal of gamification in learning is to create a stable interest in the learning process among students and ensure their productive activities [7]. With the proper use of gamification, "the initial desire to enjoy the process (external motivation) may well develop into a situation where the performance of tasks becomes significant in itself (internal motivation)" [3, p. 9].

In the higher education system, gamification elements can be introduced at different stages of the educational process: at the stage of goal setting, curriculum development, methodology and learning outcomes [12, p. 256]. That is, game elements allow both to develop certain skills and to assess the degree of their formation.

The main methods of gamification include the introduction of game characters, the limitation of time for completing tasks, the introduction of non-standard forms of assessment (such as game points or bonuses), etc. Most teachers using gamification elements note that they help solve the main problem: increase motivation to learn a foreign language [6, p. 388].

Game elements in foreign language lessons are often presented in the form of intellectual quizzes, which are traditionally used to check the degree of assimilation of the acquired knowledge. However, they differ from ordinary quizzes in that the questions are not asked to general knowledge, the boundaries of which can be difficult to determine, but according to the material passed by the students. However, this type of gaming activity can be modified, giving it a more active character, and use it to form certain learning skills, in particular search reading skills.

The format of an intellectual game when learning to read has a number of advantages:

1) increases the motivation of students through play and competitive activities;

2) combines all types of speech activity;

3) allows you to use different types of reading;

4) forms a number of significant general academic (interdisciplinary) competencies in students, such as heuristic competence, information retrieval competence, ability to work in a team, etc.;

5) develops skills of working with authentic texts (the training text is used as a transitional step to working with authentic language material);

6) contributes to the formation of cultural competence;

7) it is well suited for generalization and consolidation of the studied material;

8) develops the skill of synthesis: combining information from different sources.

Thanks to this format, there is an exit from the plane of the text into the sphere of knowledge, as a result of which the text becomes not just a source of information, but a stimulus of cognitive interest and the first link in the chain of obtaining knowledge about any phenomenon.

The format of the intellectual game has not only linguo-didactic, but also general didactic potential, since it allows you to develop a wide range of cognitive and social skills, and also helps to increase the erudition and cognitive interest of students.

However, it should be noted that conducting classes in the form of an intellectual game has a number of difficulties. Firstly, it takes a lot of time to prepare. In addition, students may be afraid of difficulties after all, even in their native language, such games presuppose comprehensive knowledge and a high level of intelligence. And in case of failure, the motivating effect can turn into its opposite.

A solution can be proposed for each of the above problems. In order to save time, the pre-text stage should be taken out of the scope of classroom work. To do this, students need to be given detailed instructions for working with the text. Since the main role for the intellectual game is played not by the information contained in the text, but by the possibility of using it to obtain new data, texts of small volume and not presenting difficulties from the point of view of language are suitable for such work. When composing questions, it is important to observe the main principle: they should be written in a simpler language than the text itself. In addition, questions can be duplicated in Russian. A specialized text or a large-volume text can be divided into numbered fragments and questions can be compiled in such a way that they relate to certain fragments. Failure in the game is relative in nature and can be effectively used for reflection, error analysis and motivation for more successful work in the future.

The authors of this article adapted the format of the intellectual game "What? Where? When?". Three teams of six people, consisting of students of non-linguistic specialties of the first year of study, took part in the game. Each team has a captain who chooses one of the versions that sounded at the table, and a player who will voice it.

The game consists of three rounds, each of which includes four questions to think about. The questions of each round are related to one of the texts read in advance by the players. The title of the text is announced at the beginning of the tour. The answer to each question is contained in the text, but the question itself is not taken directly from it. The participants of the game need to apply logic to give the correct answer.

The teams have a minute to discuss and find the right answer. The discussion can be conducted in both English and Russian. During the discussion, teams can use their own texts with notes.

At the end of the minute, the captain calls a team member who gives an answer to the question in English. The teams answer the question in turn, set by drawing lots. If the team fails to answer the question correctly, the next opposing team has such an opportunity, so all three teams discuss the question within a minute. After each round, the jury counts the points and informs the teams of the intermediate result.

A few days before the game, participants receive texts and instructions on how to work with them:

1. Read the title of the text. What associations does it evoke in you? What do you know about this topic?

2. Read the entire text: what do you understand and what is not very clear?

3. Translate words and expressions that make it difficult to understand the text.

4. Divide the text into logical parts. Briefly formulate the main idea of each part (it is possible in Russian).

5. Try to ask as many questions as possible to each part of the text and answer them.

6. Highlight the keywords in the text: these are the words and expressions that contain the main idea of each fragment.

7. Write down the keywords. After a while, try to remember as much information as possible from the text associated with each of the keywords.

8. Divide the information in the text into:

- known to you;

- a new one for you;

- information that surprised you (you thought otherwise);

- information that interests you (you want to know more).

9. Pay special attention to the realities: these are words that denote concepts that are absent in other cultures, for example, boxing day is the second day of Christmas in the UK, on which gifts are opened. This also includes proper names: names of cities and districts, names and surnames of people, geographical names, etc.

10. Use colored highlighters, underscores, footnotes, marginal notes while working with the text everything that will allow you to easily navigate the text.

11. Exchange thoughts about what you read with your teammates. This will help you if you missed something or misunderstood.

The second part of the instructions concerns the game process itself:

1. Read the question carefully. Answer only what you are asked.

2. Try to immediately determine in which part of the text you need to look for the answer to the question.

3. Divide the tasks among the team members. Someone thinks how the question is related to the content of the text. Someone can search for the right word. The captain listens attentively and analyzes all versions in order to choose the most logical one at the end.

As an example, here are the questions of the tour related to the content of the text East End from the manual on country studies Spotlight on Britain". The choice of material was due to the fact that the team members are trained in different specialties, but all studied the topic English-speaking countries". The questions were voiced by the presenter and displayed on the screen.

Question 1: One version of how the name of this place in the East End came about is that unscrupulous traders would steal that piece of wardrobe from you at one end and sell it back to you at the other end. Name this place!

Answer: Petticoat Lane Market

Comment: petticoat is an underskirt; the local traders were apparently so light fingered that they could take off your underskirt on the fly and so sly that they could sell it to you without you recognizing it.

Question 2: Attention! We have replaced ONE LETTER in one of the words.

In The Hollywood Store you can find sequined slippers, gorgeous saris and salwar kameez. Reconstruct the word we have changed slightly.

Answer: Bollywood

Comment: As you know from the text, there are a lot of Indian stores in the East-End.

Question 3: There are beautiful gardens in the heart of this place. Not surprising, judging by its name. What place is it?

Answer: Bethnal Green

Comment: Bethnal Green was once a country village and used to be a very green place.

Question 4: Attention! X in the question replaces 2 or 3 other words.

In 2012, an article appeared on the Reuters international news agency website with the headline OMG! X is brown bread. This article warns that X is no longer popular and may disappear altogether in the near future. What is X?

Answer: Cockney rhyming slang, rhyming slang

Comment: brown bread means dead" in the rhyming slang.

The experience of the game showed that all participants were involved in the discussion. The most successful teams coped with the tasks were those who carefully read the instructions and adhered to the principle of active reading at the stage of preliminary work with the text. The participants noted that they could answer all the questions, even those to which they could not give the correct answer. They also expressed a desire to learn more about some of the facts that became known to them during the game.

Intellectual games of this format can be conducted on the basis of specialized texts. The conditions of the game can be changed depending on specific tasks, for example, to involve students in the preparation of tasks, to conduct a pre-text stage in the classroom in a training format, etc. At the post-text stage, you can use the data obtained during the game as a source of ideas for working on an individual or group research project.

Summing up, we note that the use of the intellectual game format in the process of learning search reading allows solving such problems as low motivation to learn reading, insufficient concentration of attention (clip thinking), low assessment of the relevance of information obtained from the text and the tendency of students to concentrate on the form of expression to the detriment of the content. The excitement of the game, the successful result of intellectual efforts and immediate reward contribute to the development of information retrieval competence, social competencies, and also stimulate the cognitive activity of students.

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The article presented for consideration "The didactic potential of intellectual games in teaching search reading", proposed for publication in the journal "Litera", is undoubtedly relevant, due to the growing interest in the development and application of various techniques aimed at gamification of the educational process. The article considers the didactic task of achieving a balance between teaching effective (fast) reading and high-quality assimilation of what is read, since intensive, slow and thoughtful reading plays an important role in the process of learning a foreign language, which provides the necessary degree of understanding of the information read and the ability to select texts suitable for revealing a certain topic. We note the presence of a relatively small number of studies on This topic is used in Russian linguodidactics. The article is innovative, one of the first in Russian science devoted to the study of such issues. The author describes the proposed method of working with texts. The research was carried out in line with modern scientific approaches, the work consists of an introduction containing the formulation of the problem, the main part, traditionally beginning with a review of theoretical sources and scientific directions, a research and a final one, which presents the conclusions obtained by the author. It should be noted that the introductory part does not contain historical information on the study of this issue both in general (areas of research) and in particular. There are no references to the work of the predecessors. The author does not provide data on whether the proposed material has been tested and what are the results compared to the control group? Structurally, we note that the basic canons of scientific research are not fully observed in this work. The work consists of an introduction containing a statement of the problem, but it does not mention the main researchers of this topic, the main part, which does not begin with a review of theoretical sources and scientific directions. The disadvantages include the lack of clearly defined tasks in the introductory part, the ambiguity of the methodology and the course of the study. The conclusion in this paper is missing in essence, since the conclusion should present the results of the study and its prospects, and not list what has been done. The bibliography of the article includes 12 sources, among which scientific works are presented in both Russian and foreign languages. Unfortunately, the article does not contain references to fundamental works such as monographs, PhD and doctoral dissertations. Typos, spelling and syntactic errors, inaccuracies in the text of the work were not found. The comments made are not significant and do not detract from the overall positive impression of the reviewed work. The work is innovative, representing the author's vision of solving the issue under consideration and may have a logical continuation in further research. The practical significance of the research lies in the possibility of using its results in the teaching of university courses in literary studies, comparative studies of Russian and Chinese culture, as well as courses in interdisciplinary research. The article will undoubtedly be useful to a wide range of people, philologists, undergraduates and graduate students of specialized universities. The article "The didactic potential of intellectual games in teaching search reading" can be recommended for publication in a scientific journal.