Sunday, March 17, 2013

School Needs To Be Fun

Fun School Logo
Fun School (Photo: Wikipedia)
by Brian D. Turner

School needs to be fun. Period, end of story. It is not enough for educators to "try" to make it fun, we need to succeed.

Some people look at me with a puzzled look when I explain that one of the most important things about teaching is to make the students enjoy it.

The reasons are simple and obvious and it's time for the educational community to rally around the reality that student enjoyment translates into student success.

Not buying it yet? Let's look at some key points:

  • Students who are having fun are engaged in the activity that they are doing.
  • Students who enjoy school are more likely to attend school.
  • Students who are having fun will make a better connection with the material they are enjoying.
  • Students who enjoy school will show up on time more than students who do not.
  • Students who enjoy school will have parents who appreciate their teachers.
  • Students who enjoy school will have parents who support their teachers.
  • Students who enjoy school will have parents who support their school and district.
  • Students who enjoy school will put forth more effort into their work.
  • Students who enjoy school will like their teachers better.
  • Students who enjoy school will be less likely to act out negatively.
  • Students who enjoy school will be more likely to continue on to higher levels of education.
  • Students who enjoy school will be less likely to vandalize their school.
  • Students who enjoy school will be happier people.

Now let's look at what this translates into:

  • Students who show up on time ready to learn, happy to be at school, are going to learn more than students who aren't.
  • Students who come from families where the parents are happy about their students learning, are more likely to have a positive outlook on their own education.
  • Students who are engaged, present, happy, and like their teachers are more likely to succeed.
  • Students who do the above will be happier, more successful in testing and in life, than the students who don't.

If you have read the above and do not agree, thank you for reading it and giving it a chance. Before you leave, ask yourself if you remember any fun school activities from when you were a student.

Do you remember what the lesson was about? Do you remember being engaged in the activity?

I remember a lesson from my 6th grade year where we dropped eggs from the school roof. We had to design something small that would keep the egg from breaking. We learned about momentum, force, being resourceful, being creative, clearing up broken eggs, and many other things that I still look back on with fond memories.

Now think back and ask yourself about all the boring lessons you sat through. Do you feel the same about both of these memories? I hope not, I sure don't.

If you agree, then you may be asking yourself what the next step is. How do we make school more fun? Who will champion this cause? I believe that this change has to come from within, from our teachers and administrators.

We have to address the deficiencies toward the concept of fun in our educational goals, our methodology, and our professional development. Universities need to start teaching future educators how to make their classrooms more fun. This needs to be a focus, not a side note.

This is important enough to spend time and money on, and we have to if we want to see our students reach their full potential.

Fun needs to be taken seriously, to be valued, and to be respected as a best practice. As a teacher, I owe it to your child to do my best to educate them and make them successful. I believe that the same rules apply to you about your students and your children.

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