"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone."

~Neale Donald Walsch~

Sunday, 15 June 2014

When learning becomes super fun

A friend of mine who owns a wonderful book shop, The Book Bazaar in Umina recently took a pic of one of
her window displays in which she drew the viewers eyes to Enid Blyton's, The Magic Faraway Tree series. These were some of my favorite stories growing up. When I read these stories as a child I was with Joe and Beth, Fanny and Dick (I have noticed in the new versions they changed the names of Fanny and Dick) and all the other characters. I was one of the kids. I couldn't wait to get up to the part in the story when they went up the Faraway Tree and peeked through the clouds to see what land was at the top. I loved the different folk that lived in the Faraway Tree and those who would come visit it when their land was at the top. I wanted Silky the most beautiful fairy I could imagine to be my best friend. Moon Face was one of my favorite characters and I would dream about trying one of his delicious gooey honey flavored pop cakes. One of the most wonderful things about these stories was that in my imagination the scene was perfect and the pictures in my head were clear and wonderful. So engaged was I in the text that 25 years later I feel like I am writing about an old friend. I went on scary and dangerous adventures as well as indulging my imagination in the Land of Sweets. These stories made me read deeper and deeper into the text and I tasted every morsel of imaginative delight as I read from cover to cover.

One great thing about the internet is that you can get some wonderful and creative teaching ideas from others. Just as Enid Blyton stirred my imagination as a child I know that there are teachers who are recreating places and adventures right in their own classrooms. There may be some of you that feel that Harry Potter or The Magic Treehouse series are some examples where students can immerse themselves in the land of make believe. I know some teachers whose students are so engaged in what they are doing that they don't hear the bell or keep talking about the lesson via social media sometimes days after it happened. Your imagination is a learning muscle just like any other learning muscle. It needs to be flexed and used every now and then. 

In this day and age technology has become, for some teachers the thorn in their side, whilst for others they are too busy playing maths in Minecraft with their students to notice that other teachers have no clue what
 they are up to and can only see them wasting time and resources playing video games. We can't have every lesson playing games but there is much to be said about learning when it is fun. There are some that think video games are a cop out to students using their imaginations but I think there can be a balance struck. There are so many apps that students can use to create their own video games and movies which display their knowledge and understanding of a topic or concept that allows them to not only learn experentially but enables learning to be super fun. 

My son went to Super Nova in Sydney today and met one of his childhood heroes Stan Lee. (The creator of Marvel comics.) He was telling me about this creative place where people were dressed up and thoroughly immersed in the world of make believe. There were people from all generations there and clearly make believe doesn't just stop when we leave our childhood. Some of the world's most amazing theme parks, architecture, art and engineering all require that space in our brains where our imaginations are probed. So clearly learning can be super fun and I hope that our students can develop life long learning through engaging in super fun learning from time to time in our classes. 

Until next week,

No comments:

Post a Comment