Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Is fun disappearing from learning?

Image courtesy of Penywise

I've spent 20 years of my life in educational establishments as a learner and I'm currently on my 14th year as a teacher in them. During my learner years the most vivid learning experiences I recall centred around individual and group projects, themes, and fun. As a teacher in these establishments I can safely say my best teaching has occurred when I have not followed a curriculum, nor taught to achieve end of year targets but solely because the teaching was centred around the needs of the learners, project based and fun.
The word fun is quite important in my life as a learner and teacher. It has helped me and those around me to make sense of the world we live in, to understand the questions posed of us, to enrich our learning and teaching experiences. Learning does not require rigour as one politician would have us believe. Nor does it need pointless constant testing that only satisfy analysts and their league tables. Assessment is vitally important for the right reasons but somehow, education has fallen victim to a data driven standardisation of learning which uses assessment to victimise and blame. It is also being used to push forward a change in education that could, quite frankly, push learning back to an age of rigorous learning by rote.
Does fun still exist in learning and teaching today? Of course it does and quite rightly so. We must continue to keep fun in our teaching, to keep fun as part of the learning experience. We must never let the mindsets of the few in power think they can remove fun by insisting on rigour. We must remember why we became teachers and continue to breath life into our classrooms through engaging, inspiring and fun filled learning experiences.

For if the fun was ever removed, learning and teaching would become nothing more than a monotony.

N.B. Fun will never disappear from my classroom. Learning is too exciting to ever let that happen.