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Favorite Games

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  1. I teach English as a foreign language in Eastern Europe, and I've noticed a type among my students in their teens. Two things distinguish them. First, they are very proficient in English, beyond any level that I would expect from EFL classes alone; Second they all participate in a gaming subculture online. I have plenty of proficient students that aren't at all interested in games, but I don't think I've met any that are as capable as these kids. In addition to using pervasive internet lingo, they readily, and correctly use colloquial constructions that no EFL teacher would ever bother teaching. This distinguishes their English from other learners that are simply excellent EFL students, making them seem nativelike in conversation. It's fairly normal in this country for parents to have their kids privately tutored in English, and while this can also distinguish a student, the gamer kids with and without tutors are often comparable to the non-gamer kids that get tutored. I'm not a private tutor, my classes are mostly extracurricular, and often relatively large. Most, but not all of these kids are male, and younger teens. Some are clearly well off, but others seem not to be (although all of their parents can afford to put them in a class with me). Does anyone else have any insight into this? Have you encountered any research about language acquisition and video games, specifically games not designed to be educational?