Learning and Fun
I frequently see teachers and trainees struggling to put “fun” activities into lessons. Sadly the learning very often seems to get lost in the fun, or alarmingly often, somewhere in the word-search. It’s made me think there’s a serious problem with the idea that “Learning should be fun”.
The thing is this: learning, is fun. Watch any kid working out how something works, arguing about why something happened or really captured by a story. They love it!
A successful classroom therefore, isn’t one that’s fun because kids are constantly playing games – it’s fun because they’re gripped by the discovery involved in learning. Yes, this often means having interactive activities- but that’s because a lot of learning goes on during interaction. If it were just because they were talking to each other then they might as well stop the task and talk about football and if it were just because they were moving around the classroom then they might as well leave it and go and play football. They have fun during these interactive tasks because they share eureka moments, because they can feel themselves collaborating or because they are finding out new things from each other.
The misunderstanding of what’s meant by “make learning fun” occasionally results in teachers almost hiding the learning; sneaking it in by the back door. What I love about teaching is that you can get pupils so interested in the intellectual process of understanding something, that even the most “disinterested” pupils can end up riveted by the process of working out what’s going on and why or how to do something.
So yes, make learning fun, but be very clear about what that means.