Building authentic relationships with students is an important aspect of a school counselor’s job. And games in your school counseling office can help build trust.
They can also teach social-emotional learning skills while giving students a fun break from the busy day-to-day academia.
As a school counselor, you may be wondering how games can help your students developmentally.
You might be surprised, but when it comes to social-emotional skills, there’s actually a lot your students can learn.
And, you’re in luck, because I’m covering the five key reasons you should use games in your school counseling office.
Read on, fellow counselor!
The Proof is In the Pudding
According to a 2013 SRI study, “Games with simulation components provide a 23% gain over traditional learning, demonstrating that games can increase learning outcomes by two grade levels.”
While this study was conducted surrounding simulation, it demonstrates that there is merit in the problem-solving and critical thinking aspects that are the basis of many games you can use in your school counselor office.
You can use literally any game to reap these benefits, or you can find games already made with Social Emotional Learning topics built in!
There are countless research findings on the benefits of gamification for students. A simple google search will give you plenty of rainy day reading!
How Games Teach Students to Follow and Respect Rules
Games are a fantastic way to teach children patience and how to follow rules. Rule-following is a skill that is used throughout a child’s entire life.
Think: rules in the workplace, rules of the law, and rules when it comes to social situations.
Helping students learn how to follow rules at a young age will help them understand, and value, the reasoning behind the rules, and how to follow them even if they don’t agree.
Moreover, teaching students how to disagree politely when they don’t like a rule is just as important as teaching them the value of a rule.
Games not only provide learning moments, but they also give students a birds-eye-view of choices and the consequences that may follow.
Often, games demonstrate a linear cause-and-effect situation that helps students connect the dots when it comes to the repercussions of certain decisions.
Emotional Regulation With Games in Your School Counseling Office
Speaking of teaching students a reasonable way to disagree, games can help students practice emotional regulation.
For example, if a student becomes upset during a game, there’s an opportunity to help the child learn to soothe their feelings. In fact, it’s the perfect time to teach a mindfulness activity.
Teaching mindfulness at a young age will help students build their social-emotional toolkit to use their entire life.
Games Teach Problem-Solving Skills
Games that require problem-solving skills help children develop a healthy mindset surrounding the choices they make.
Overcoming obstacles, making goals, and forming strategies can help students understand that they have control over outcomes.
In other words, they’ll realize that they can make decisions that affect outcomes, which teaches accountability.
This teaches them to own their mistakes.
Games in Your School Counseling Office Teach Social Skills
Important social skills are infused generously within games used in a school counselor’s office.
For example, good sportsmanship, taking turns, and politeness are all skills that are built upon while playing games in a school counselor’s office.
Games often model real-world scenarios, thus students have the opportunity to practice their social skills. They’ll learn how to handle larger issues they may face in their adult lives.
Social Distancing Games
During a pandemic, it can be difficult to find safe ways for students to work amongst themselves. Social distancing has become the norm in many classrooms. Thus, I dug up this huge list of pandemic-friendly games for you!
So, even if students can’t play games directly with each other, they can still get the educational, and social-emotional benefits from games that can be played at a distance.