A good teacher knows that the best education tool is always supported by trusted research. In growing times, it is essential to provide students with basic knowledge through an attractive and analytical teaching framework that can stimulate their critical and creative thinking. However, crossword puzzles have been around for decades, and researchers are still studying their benefits for educational purposes.
Educational crossword puzzles are an innovative teaching technique that enables students to think critically, speak about personal viewpoints and enhance positive feedback and reflection. With online crossword puzzle makers, teachers can create crossword puzzles that meet their unique lesson plans. In addition to the puzzle creator, New York Time puzzles and My Worksheet Maker come with various features customized to meet educational goals.
Keep reading this article to explore more about the educational side of these crossword puzzles.
Educational benefits of solving puzzles or making puzzles
Most of the research shows that a multi-faceted approach to learning is more effective than any single approach. That’s why it seems logical that it would be more effective than simply solving crosswords when students make crossword puzzles and find the daily answers.
However, making and solving crossword puzzles helped students in many significant ways like;
- Identifying topics and gaps in education
- Students engage in the learning process.
- Boost students’ engagement and ease the anxiety associated with assessments.
- Development of teamwork skills and collaborative work.
- Reinforcement of concept.
Reinforcing concepts with crossword puzzles
From chemistry, ESL to nursing, tutoring with educational crossword puzzles can assist in introducing and highlighting any subject’s concepts. According to the 2016 study in Indonesia, students are getting the potential benefits of using crossword puzzles to teach English.
They also concluded that the crossword puzzles would also benefit students learning ESL for various reasons;
- Crossword puzzles helped students to remember and understand the meaning of words.
- Students have to understand the words shown in each clue and the grid, thus improving their vocabulary.
- Crossword puzzles required helpful resources like a dictionary for students to consult.
According to the researchers, it is concluded that crossword puzzles improved the students’ ability to solve problems when used with a clear and tailored educational purpose. And it is so workable because the students are not attempting to memorize definitions and repeat them.
Instead of memorizing, they reconstruct the definitions of terms and concepts that trigger the recall and embed the correct meanings to their knowledge structure. In simple words, as students have to process the purpose rather than memorizing the terms behind it, crossword puzzles allow for a great reinforcement of a concept.
Recognizing gaps in education with Crossword puzzles
Crossword puzzles go a step beyond memorization, and they help students to identify their weak spots. The methodology of puzzles requires using clues in different aspects of the same concept.
It always occurs when two clues are the same, but the answer is different. According to a 2012 study done by a group of researchers from various institutions, the students can find their weak side with the help of crossword puzzles. Moreover, they revealed that the students using puzzles see it as a fun opportunity to evaluate their level of learning and identify education concepts.
Use Crossword puzzles as a motivational tool
Apart from all the educational purposes, you can also use crossword puzzles as a motivational tool. A study done in 2006 by Robert S. Weisskirch revealed that the students enjoyed solving crossword puzzles to review the material.
Moreover, it also stated that the students increase their self-confidence when they correctly find the answers to any puzzle. So we can say that crossword puzzles have a self-motivation effect that encourages students to learn and study more.
Additionally, it also decreases the anxiety caused by the other assessments. A 2012 study shows that students perceive themselves to be better equipped to handle concepts with a crossword puzzle exercise.
While increasing students’ motivation to learn, the crossword puzzles also help them enhance their vocabulary knowledge. However, it has a practical effect when a learner’s choice is to learn meaningfully.
So, as a student, if you are allowed to solve a crossword puzzle in your time, it will enable you to process the information in your own way.
Crossword puzzles for reviewing and testing knowledge
A crossword puzzle is an excellent self-assessment to see what students have learned from a specific subject. Using games is always associated with a positive performance on exams directly linked to material covered in the game.
It also concluded that testing through puzzle designed games is vital for effectiveness. Suppose in a classroom, the teacher uses crossword puzzles to review for an exam, and it helps them. But the method didn’t work in the second class due to the lack of a mixed strategy for review.
Therefore, it shows that the educational crossword puzzles work best as a formative assessment rather than a summative assessment.
Develop teamwork skills with crossword puzzles
The use of crossword puzzles by the students of ESL states that they made substantial progress when working as a team. However, they were frustrated by the cultural components and seemed to be context-less but only when working alone.
On the other hand, they feel much more positive and make more significant progress when working as a team. Therefore, completing the crossword puzzles collaboratively rather than individually outside of class helped students learn more and prepare for the exams.
However, according to the class’s subject matter and the students’ demographics, the effectiveness of teamwork in solving the crossword puzzle may be different.
You will agree with me that each student and classroom is unique. So you as a teacher must know whether an educational tool like crossword puzzles will work for your students or not. If you find crossword puzzles the best teaching framework, start implementing it in your teaching style without wasting time.