AGO As A Different Learning Angle:

It takes all types to make a world, and we all have different strengths and weaknesses. In the same vein, people learn in different ways, often based somewhat on what their personal strengths and preferences are.

If you ask someone what their likes are, and what they consider their strengths to be, often there is a lot of overlap.
That is to say: what you like and what you are good at are often pretty much the same thing (and that is not just a coincidence, either). Furthermore it works the other way, too: there is a relationship between what you don’t like and what you consider yourself weak at.

Why is this? What can we take out of this?
In simple terms, when we like or enjoy something, our mind is open to it, we may think about it in our free time, our subconscious will process it and rehearse it, and we will be open to encountering the subject again in the future. The opposite is true for things that we’ve developed a dislike for: we would rather be doing something else, that topic is not interesting, brings stress and so our mind is reluctant to focus upon it or learn about it. 

Bearing the above in mind, It’s not hard to see why people are prone to make more progress when  enjoying themselves, relaxed and interested in something. They are not fighting it, or trying to switch their focus to something more pleasant; their mind is open and curious. That is the frame of mind as a teacher you want your students to be in, and that state of mind is where people can begin to feel “flow” – where time goes really fast, faces light up, learning comes naturally and our performance markedly increases.

AGO games offer a different learning angle to a coursebook, and that can sometimes appeal to a different type of student.

As an example, AGO Phonics has proven itself a useful tool for students in native English speaking countries that have struggled early on with reading and perhaps become disheartened in the process. Almost all students enjoy playing games, so while this type of student may dread reading or writing practice in the traditional sense, they are probably open to the idea of playing a phonics game (so long as you accentuate the game part, and make the goal first of all to have fun). Within this adjusted mindset, students will give more effort, and may surprise even themselves by how quickly they progress, or how much they actually already knew, and a good teacher is able to then use this momentum to steer them back on track! 

Teachers, parents and students alike are encouraged to experiment and foster children’s innate curiosity and affection for playing cards (that young people like colorful playing cards is almost universal!). If you can get your students feeling good and interested in the topic at hand, you are already halfway there!

Multiple Intelligences:
Multiple Intelligences theory is a framework that attempts to capture the different types of learners you’ll find in a classroom. It is useful for teachers to have a basic understanding of the categories of learners, so that they can better reach more of their students. Many ESL or EFL coursebooks incorporate the Multiple Intelligences theory framework to appeal better to different types of learners. 

Image Credit: Thrive Global, 2019.

Broadly speaking, it’s a good idea to mix different elements together to keep lessons fresh, and appealing to different types of learners and doing a variety of activities in classrooms that can appeal to these different types of learners. 

AGO cards weren’t exactly made with Multiple intelligences in mind, but the various card games (and apps) do cover most of the categories at various times, and give different types of learners opportunies to practice in their preferred mode.