Boardgame for Gauteng schools

Tamara O’Reilly

Even the most talented teachers have difficulty in ensuring that lessons are interesting and still educational, so a fun method of teaching involving an interactive board game is a welcome tool in the Gauteng province’s curriculum.

The Gauteng Department of Education has incorporated the use of a board game into their World of Work Education Programme, which prepares youngsters for the job market. Designed by Winning Teams, the game creates eagerness for learning and injects fun into challenging subjects such as mathematics and economics.

When deciding to use the Business Literacy board game, the department considered that it was essential to equip youngsters with well-developed employable skills along with life skills to encourage an early understanding of business and entrepreneurship.

“The big problem allied with poverty is the lack of skills. The reality is that an average of three out of 10 learners will be employable, so the question we asked was what could we do to help the remaining seven? The answer to this was to create a culture of learning using fun means,” says Denzil Hollis, creator of the game.

How the game works

The method consists of a generic board, dice, timer and whistle, and a score sheet. Up to 28 pupils can play at a time and the responsibility of each player is shifted from game to game, allowing each person a turn to take on different roles that require different skills.

The questions are derived from the business related learning material that comes with the game. The contents are first taught in class; thereafter pupils are given hard copies and a time frame in which to master the subject.

But the game is not confined to this subject. Teachers can use this same method to test pupils’ knowledge of other challenging subjects such as mathematics and science.

Results of each game are submitted to Winning Teams to assess the ability of students and to point out weak areas that the teacher should spend more time on.

“In the four years that this project has been running we have had tremendous success with this method. We have found that 29 000 pupils who have been a part of this programme boast an average of 90% knowledge of the business manuals that accompany the game,” says Hollis.

“An educator’s responsibility is not just to prepare a child for an exam, but to prepare them for the real world and to do this they need to adequately provide formalised work-related and work-based learning programmes and activities,’ says Hollis.

All educators responsible for the working with the game undergo formal training sessions on how to prepare learners for the competition and are coached throughout the competition to meet pre-determined knowledge retention levels.

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