The grown-up opinion about learning vs playing seems to be in a forever shift. Some curriculums plan and expect them, others just want to get through the insane amount of information children are required absorb, and others yet only accept games that have some educational outcomes. What’s your take on that?
I, for one, am completely in the game-camp. I’ve learned so much in my life just because I enjoyed it, and those are the things that I still remember. Languages, information, experiments – if you’re having fun, you don’t realise you’re learning. How many great musicians have we got that learned song-writing in school? How many excellent lawyers can say, they don’t enjoy the logic of their job? How many teachers are there doing their job just for the money? It’s hard to be good at something you don’t have fun with.
Furthermore, when I started at the current job, my boss was very adamant about making sure that the kids enjoy the classes. As we’re a language academy, nobody’s required to make their children come here and it always helps (apparently) if the child enjoys the classes and wants to come.
But the most important thing is that I myself enjoy the games more than doing the exercises in the book. Getting kids (or adults) excited about language, seeing that twinkly little light in their eyes, I find that immensely satisfying.
I had 5 classes today. In two of them we didn’t notice the class finished because we were having so much fun. I actually had to herd the kids out of the classroom to go home, they were so into a competition! Were they loud? You bet! Did they use my only break time? I didn’t give a single bother!
So you can imagine my shock as we were walking outside with two fellow teachers, one experienced, one new like me, talking about the days we had.
“With Easter so close, all they want is playing games!” one complained. The other agreed:
“Aren’t they? I keep telling them just because we’re going on a break soon, I still have work to do, chapters to cover.” (Notice the “I” in the sentence!)
“And they’re so noisy when they’re playing games, I can’t stand that!”
I wanted to interrupt, I really did but their exhaustion was too palatable. I empathise with how they feel. I don’t always feel like going the extra mile to bring them games, especially when some of the kids are so plainly state with a funny broken English: “I’m boring, teacher” (It makes me laugh when they mix those up.)
I can’t always get them excited about a game I’ve been planning for hours for fear of being ridiculous. (One of the biggest walls I need to break to be a really great teacher.) I don’t always estimate it well how quickly they’ll understand the rules or the vocabulary, or how long it’ll take to go through all the right answers.
It’s a learning process for me. But as it is, I might as well have fun with that learning, and you know, write a blog? 🙈
What do you think? So you expect schools/language be serious? Do you think your child (or yourself) can learn enough through games? Would love to hear!