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Teacher Edition: Board Games and Learning Languages feat. Jose Lopez – 019


Teacher Edition- Episode 19: Board Games and Learning Languages feat. Jose Lopez!

Episode Overview

In this “Teacher Edition” episode of Board Gaming with English, Dustin talks to Jose Lopez (Rich was there in spirit) about his experience with different languages and how board games helped shape his experiences with the English language. Jose was born and raised in the tropical island of Puerto Rico, USA. He has a business background and you can currently find him working with the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce as a business counselor. He has a lot of experience teaching and working in an international school setting as well.  In the episode, Jose discusses various concepts about learning language through board games and his personal experience of how languages and board games have shaped him. He even shares a story about a good friend growing up, and his experience learning English to compete with his friends. 

Read more about the episode and take a look at the games they talk about in this episode below.

Our new Facebook Group for Educators: Games-based Learning, Gamification, and Games in Education

Our new Facebook Group for English language learners: Using Board Games (and other Games) to Learn English

Thank you to Revolution Void for their wonderful contribution of a segment of their song “How Exciting” for our introduction. The song can be found in full on this music archive.

Thank you to Purple Planet Music for their songs “Hubbub” during the interview transition “Mumbai Mood” on our Desert Island Questionnaire Segment: http://www.purple-planet.com

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(Transcript coming soon- support our podcast and email us a transcript of episode 19)

Episode Topics

Jose Lopez

Jose A. Lopez was born and raised in the tropical island of Puerto Rico, USA. He grew up surrounded by mountains, rainforests, and white sandy beaches along the Caribbean shores. Jose has always been energetic and determined to explore new opportunities locally and internationally. For over 6 years he has had the opportunity to work in the development of business proposals, training, implementation, and management in USA, China, and Japan.

After he graduated with honors from his BA in Business Administration, he worked for a nonprofit organization by evaluating business plans and offering training to potential small business owners. As a result, he guided successfully the creation of 184 new small enterprises in Puerto Rico.
Together with his wife, he decided to pursue a Master’s degree in International Business, which included an internship in China as a Business & Marketing professor.

At the same time, he completed his thesis, which consisted of interviewing Chinese business owners and identifying their interests to invest in America. Through this experience, he had the opportunity to work as a manager at an international school in Japan. He was able to utilize his entrepreneurial skills to ensure the success of the growing school, which had parents and faculty from all over the world.
After fulfilling one of his dreams to work, study, and live abroad, he decided to settle down with his wife and chose Central Texas as their destination. He has truly felt welcomed in this community, and it has become his family’s home.

Desert Island Questionnaire: Cata, DC Deck Building, and Gloomhaven

Using Languages to Learn about other Cultures and Meet New People

Jose is fluent in both Spanish and English. He uses his language ability as a part of his Batman utility belt to connect and support other individuals. He also learned a little bit of Japanese and Chinese while living abroad in both China and Japan. He goes on to talk about how learning a language can be a nice icebreaker for meeting new people.

The Structure of Language in Deck Building Games and Trading Card Games

Jose and Dustin talk about card games and their potential use for helping language learners learn English. Jose talks about analyzing the text in card games. Certain texts require the correct interpretation. These types of games can help develop students’ analytical skills through learning the structure of the language on the cards.

A Friend’s Story

Jose shares a story about a friend and how he used board games to help develop his English language. His friend would play the game without necessarily looking at the English on the text of the card. For Jose’s friend, the language was the actions of the cards and the mechanics of the game. He learned through the relation of card effects and through imitating Jose and his friends’ use of the cards. Eventually, his friend had to look at the English to compete with Jose and his friends because certain cards required interpretation to understand how those cards combine or collide with other cards within the game.

Board Games and Engagement

Dustin and Jose dive into the topic of how they can integrate games in a social environment. Jose argues that by playing games in a social setting through the use of English that the language or the learning will transcend the classroom. They also discuss the use of competition, motivation, and personification in board games to drive engagement in learning a language.

Games in this Episode

Dustin, Rich, and Jose talk about and mention several different games during this episode. If any of these games sound like something you might enjoy playing personally or in your class, you can help support our podcast by purchasing these games through our Amazon affiliate links. We will earn a small commission at no expense to you. Check out the games below:

Games Jose and Dustin Talked About

Thanos Rising and…

Sheriff of Nottingham


Great Escape of Central Texas- Killeen

Jose’s Desert Island Questionnaire


DC Deck-Building


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