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What answer do you often hear when you ask a kid the usual " how is school ?". Boring. Yes, boring is the word many students use to describe school.
For educators and teachers that's quite uncomfortable to hear and if the majority of the students are saying the school is boring then there must be something wrong with our education system.
Schools these days are caught in the competition. They compete for each other for more medals, more trophies, and more fake reputation. All they worry about study plan.
On the other hand, students are fed up with boring lectures, routine homework and believe me if the current scenario goes on , we're gonna get lots of dull office workers, unimaginative factory managers, mediocre engineers and uncreative teachers.
Now the question: What is Wrong with our Education system?
Let's take an example of the animal world. One day king of the jungle lion announced that he desperately needs a secretary who can help him to run his Kingdom. Everybody from the jungle wanted this job badly including elephants, monkey, fish, and dog.
Finally, the day came when the king was going to select one of them as his secretary. They all lined up in front of the lion king for their selection test.
The lion said for fair selection everybody has to give same exam : please climb that tree. Elephant knew he can't climb a tree, the dog tried but failed and the fish doesn't know what it takes to climb a tree but it was walk in the park for monkey and he completed The task within seconds.
Now the question: Why did other animals lose?
They didn't lose because they were weak or incapable for the job. They lost because climbing a tree was not their strength and that's exactly how our education system works.
The above parable shows us a serious reflection of our schools and educational institutions.
It is taken for granted that every child should learn mathematics, science, history, arts and language but now it's time to realize that average child is not interested in all of these subjects. we should know how to plan study according to every child's need.
Every student is different from other student and they all have different strengths, they all have different interests. If a student is very good at math and you ask him to write a poetry then it's like asking an elephant to climb a tree.
Now the question: Why Education should be Fun?
We have always felt little uncomfortable with the phrases like fun learning, 'maths can be fun', play with method etc. In our society, the word learning means studying and it's said that unless you're studying, you're wasting your time.
I have heard parents saying " my sons keeps playing cricket whole day, but just ask him to study and he start to feel sleepy & tried."
Similarly, a child who rattle off all the Eminem's songs but can't remember the multiplication table of 17. This calls for a serious reconsideration of how learning takes place in our society.
Diverted minds during class, bored students are often the ones who awake from some sort of dream when you call them.
Sometimes they are the ones who continually disrupt the class, entertain their classmates and check the patience of the teacher.The thing is contrary to all those teacher's who like to say that they are not here to entertain students, learning is supposed to be fun.
It should engage student's minds, generate creativity, entice students to seek more and excite them enough to come back each day in expectation of great experience. This is real education, real learning. Believe me, it's not boring. It helps in stress management.
CONCEPT OF EDUFUN
How can learning be fun? The word edufun means education with fun. Education today is heavily targeted towards acquiring more & more information and most of this information has nothing to do with children's real world environment and making learning fun.
I asked my brother who studies in 6th standard about his favorite subject and he said science. I asked him the reason and he said because he gets good marks in science. Students these days knows everything but understand little and feel much less.
Learning methods should be fun, it should be simpler as it can be, it shouldn't confuse the student and most importantly it should be student-oriented.
Let's take an example of a Mexican science teacher who has come up with a novel way to get his students attention : Giving lessons dressed as spiderman. Moises Vazquez, 26, says he do the same job as anyone else, he don't think his class is the best in the world just because he put on a suit of a superhero.
But all he wants is to make the classroom a better place where Learning is fun. This proves that making education fun can be fun for teachers too. The trick is to begin with simple things that make a big difference.
(1) Teacher and student bonding - Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan once said "I call my students 'my kids' because in our year together they aren't just kid's on my class list, they become part of my heart." For better learning students needs to know that teacher is on their side, looking out for their best interests, invested in them individually.
It matters a lot, and ultimately students work with greater engagement & energy for the teacher who cares for them. And it's a fact that no significant learning can occur without a significant relationship.
(2) STUDENT centered environment - Every activity in the classroom should be mainly focused on the students rather than on teacher. After all , they are the learners. Engaging students more and more in classroom activities will help in making students creative and alert.
Group discussions and debating can be a very important tool in creating a student-oriented environment and as soon as such environment is created, learning will be more fun & attractive.
(3) Painting's and wall arts - I have seen in many schools and colleges , campus walls are full of different paintings and art on it. As we know that small children's get easily attracted to it and try to understand that particular art.
These arts could be some famous painting, famous quote, some important Inspirational information but the main purpose of these wall arts should be to catch the eye of the visitor and give them something to learn in a simple way.
(4) Educational games - We have yet to come across a student who is not happy to play games because playing games are something that they enjoy. But there are some games in which a student can learn and have fun too.
To develop literacy skills among children's we can let them play snap game, bingo, desk game etc.
To develop numeracy skills among students we can make them play flash cards, pattern blocks, number lines, dice playing and flip charts.
A child can learn a lot through different charts like weather charts, my body charts, emotions chart etc.
Posters can also be very useful when it comes to learning With fun. For example adding & subtracting is fun poster, different colors poster, multiplication tables poster and let's count the number poster.
(5) Learning with technology - In this modern times, technology is changing the way of learning. And yes, technology can make education fun. I recently visited a website named duolingo.com and it's an excellent website for learning languages for free. You can learn English, german, French and Spanish for free.
Technology makes learning more accessible and affordable. You can use your PC to get children to use font creating software to create their own font from their handwriting and I can assure you that your child will enjoy learning like this.
(6) Keep learning active - Remember the most boring class you had as a student ? It likely involved little to no meaningful activity on your part. But learning is an action word and therefore it requires active student involvement, in order to be meaningful & engaging. Otherwise it's boring.
Teachers should be more practical in classrooms, you can tell students all about the content, but when they experience it first hand, they own that learning and enjoy the process. Let them conduct a science experiment, develop a math problem, create the play to perform in class.
This makes learning real & fun, engaging students in ways that lecture, reading the textbook can't begin to do.
(7) The feedback - Everyone enjoys knowing that their opinion matters and students are no gods. Knowing that their opinion counts, that their input is taken seriously, engages the student.
If they know this than they are likely to participate more actively and to offer more thoughtful, valuable feedback.
In today's world, I have realized that we have taught our children's to know but not how to feel. School and education should be fun not a headache for a student. Today we're in the mad rush to reach the top, to succeed, to leave others behind.
One educationist remarked, ' It is nice that children spend just a few hours at school. If they spend all 24 hours, they will turn out to be dumb!'. Sometimes we tend to focus only on the end product ignoring the whole process.
Children learn a great deal without being taught, by exploring and pottering on their own. Learning is a process sometimes exciting, sometimes frustrating, sometimes funny and sometimes fulfilling but one thing for sure, it should never be BORING.
There were all my thoughts. What do you suggest to make learning fun?