Laughter and play in learning

I was reading an article about laughter in the workplace in a lifestyle magazine during my recent holidays.  It got me musing about the degree of laughter that exists in my classroom, and the need for it.

Here’s a rolled-together combination of thoughts from the article and from me…

  •  Laughter and fun activity are the brain’s favourite way to learn.  The endorphins produced assist in making us feel good about learning, helping us retain knowledge.
  • There is increased creativity generated.
  • Kids gain confidence when they engage in play-based learning.  Even teens love playing; doing activities that put the learning into a game-based activity.  There is safety in learning something in the relatively unpressured environment of a game.
  • You and your students will be much more fun to be around when the classroom environment allows for fun and frivolity in the mix of learning activities.
  • There is greater transparency and reality in relationships built on laughter.  (However, ensure that laughter is generated in positive ways; nothing derogatory or demeaning should be considered funny.)

What do you do to maintain a fun-filled, playful and creative classroom?

As always, I’d love to post your musings on this topic.

 

2 thoughts on “Laughter and play in learning

  1. Interesting that you should raise this topic. Teaching Prep one would ass-ume that people would be fighting to maintain the played based pedagogy that we are all so familiar with and relate to early years teaching. However with the implementation of the Australian Curriculum play based learning appears to be becoming a thing of the past. My Principal keeps checking to make sure my students who are being taught through a play based pedagogy are going to make the grade by the end of the year, and i keep reassuring her they will (even starting to doubt my own ability with this negative pressure around).
    The today we had to provide the 5 average benchmarks for our reading groups. My groups (from play-based supplemented by focused teaching episodes) were on the same levels as the more formal class of my colleague. I felt vindicated and proud that my students were keeping up academically, as well as being well rounded happy social students. My group also has a very broad spread of ability groups from 5 I.I. to several high achieving readers. Let’s refocus on what really matters in teaching and learning and the results will be self evident!

  2. Thanks for the comment Anne. I can’t say I am at all an expert on the early years of learning but I despise the move toward ‘pure’ learning for our little ones. People like you who can prove the maintenance of standards while letting them learn through play should be celebrated.
    But, as I’ve said above, it saddens me just as much when our older kids miss out on fun, playful learning too.
    I trust you will have the chance to continue to prove your methodology and encourage others (Middle Years teachers included) to do the same.

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