Ever since the 20th century, crossword puzzles have become very popular, and their popularity continues to rise. In fact, a number of magazines and newspapers all over the world include a crossword in their prints every day. Crossword puzzles are not only an exciting way to spend time but also an excellent way to learn vocabulary and spelling, as well as flex your brain. This is why they have been used in education for several years.
How Crosswords can Aid Learning
Intrinsic motivation is important for deep level learning. Games and puzzles appeal to most people, especially teenagers and children. And since students are already familiar with crosswords, they are accepted with ease. In fact, studies show that students enjoy solving crossword puzzles as a way to review course material. Entertaining study materials can raise intrinsic motivation in students to study and learn more. The puzzles also ease the anxiety and tension created by other assessments because students perceive puzzles as a recreational activity.
Reviewing and Testing Knowledge
Crossword puzzles can be a good self-assessment for students. The puzzles enable the students to evaluate their level of knowledge and identify the areas that they need to study further. As a teacher, you can also use the puzzles to assess the students. Most teachers agree that crosswords puzzles work best when used together with other assessment tools.
Sharpening the Brain
Having students make and solve crossword puzzles is a great way to flex their brain and improve their reasoning capacity. As students solve or create puzzles, they have to analyze all the important factors, and this helps them to improve their ability to think logically and strategically. Additionally, solving puzzles helps improve the students’ processing speed.
One of the main advantages of crosswords is that it helps to expand the learner’s vocabulary. To solve any puzzle, the student must be able to identify and understand the terms. Therefore, if the student doesn’t know the answer, they are forced to research words from course material, dictionary or an online crossword solver thereby acquiring new vocabulary.
Developing Teamwork Skills
Working together to create or solve crossword puzzles fosters a culture of teamwork. Students are, therefore, able to work collaboratively to achieve one objective. Puzzle solving is also a more active type of learning that engages the students with the material more than the other passive styles.
Crosswords also boost memory as the students are stimulated to recollect the previous content learned. The puzzles challenge learners to recall recently learned information, explore past experiences, and manipulate vocabularies to find the right word. Therefore, crossword puzzles can be an effective teaching tool of definitions, spelling, and terminology, leading to greater memorization and retention of facts. This is one of the reasons why learners who solve puzzles regularly perform better than those who don’t.
Whether you’re teaching sociology, communication, biology, business, or any other subject, crossword puzzles can help your students learn fast and better. The puzzles can be created with ease and customized according to the curriculum using puzzle creation software and websites. However, each subject and each learner are unique, and therefore, only you as the teacher can know best if the tool does or does not work for your students.