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Discussion in 'English' started by gruoch, Mar 31, 2012.
'Fun' SoW on (pick any topic).
What happened to 'work'?
It's easier than feeling good about achieving something.
Kids never had fun in my lessons. And I never had fun when I was at school either. "Fun" isn't an official criterion used by Ofsted yet, is it?
It depends how you define "fun".
If by "fun" you mean taking what could be a dry topic and trying to make it as interesting and stimulating as you can through a variety of means, then I'm all for it, as I'm sure you are gruoch, from your postings. My own English lessons at school often consisted of nothing more than reading a passage and answering endless comprehension questions. That certainly was not fun or educational.
But if you mean draining the topic of any serious content and then running round the room like a headless chicken by fun, then you can certainly count me out.
Pretty much. If I'd actually wanted to be a stand up, that's the career I'd have chosen.
I've tried making spelling 'fun' - lots of interactive stuff. The kids love it. They don't actually remember anything, but they love it. Small children learn through play, something of which The Powers That Be seem to be gloriously unaware with their 'every child must be able to do X by the time they are at the end of Yr 1', but older children don't. Their brains are wired differently. Adolescents are busily rewiring their brains in preparation for adulthood. They don't want to play games.
I don't like this expectation that children will be entertained in lessons. Or that lessons should be pupil-led, interactive, in a required number of parts or whatever else the current fashion is. I do try to get a class into groups to split research or revision tasks and I use youtube clips, quizzes and so on, but an awful lot of lessons are me at the front leading a discussion and then making notes on the board or setting written work. I know it's not whizzy or pupil led but very often it's what the students want and need. In our last survey of students' preferences, teacher led discussion came top, and hot seating and role play were at the bottom.
What is the current maximum amount of 'teacher talk' that Ofsted deems correct? I know it doesn't involve anything which is actually 'teacher led'. They're meant to teach themselves - via 'fun' activities, of course - aren't they?
OP - If you're serious about wanting to know the answer to spend an hour considering things from a different perspective have a listen to this:
In my classroom, the emphasis is less on 'fun' than 'creativity' which seems to naturally bring in the former element most, if not all, of the time. When it's not 'fun', the learners seem to accept that some things require resilience but because they are interactively involved in forming their learning goals, they see the point.
Kids might want teachers to stand at the front and lecture but there's plenty of evidence that it's not actually what they need unless we want to continue the factory-like churning out of teens from school (a la Ken Robinson's talk). There are so many arguments to support this, from the fact that we are preparing them for a world where most of what they learn in school will be defunct, to the truth that they need skills more than knowledge to be adaptable for who-knows-what. Nonetheless, I put little stock in research carried out hundreds of miles away from my own context with learners who aren't in my school, and every cohort will be different. All I know is that I've yet to meet a learner who doesn't thrive on increased independence (not the same as 'leaving them to it'), choices about their learning and a sense of responsibility for their own progress. It is difficult (and even scary) to hand over that kind of control (especially in the face of league tables and Ofsted's ridiculous 'judge a teacher on 20 minutes of teaching' model) and I did it piecemeal for years before realising you have to have faith in your own ability to guide and inspire learning rather than force it down their throats, and to make it work requires jumping in with both feet. I came across this recently which I wish I'd seen years ago:
A lot of what happens in schools will simply be dictated by resources and the learning culture. If the classes expect lectures from the front and you try to deviate they may well resist, but it doesn't make it pointless to try unless you are utterly convinced that your classroom is the best model of teaching and learning there can be? I'm sure mine is not, but I am doing everything I can to make it so, and imagine I will continue to do so until the day I retire. (If I forget this pledge, please do put me out to pasture as my learners deserve better.)
Nothing motivates more than achievement. If the kids don't feel they are achieving, they'll switch off as quick as anything.
As the great KR video infers, creativity is often linked with autonomy. No matter what job you do, having a sense of autonomy will keep you going through both stress and boredom. Very few jobs, though, require any significant amount of autonomy, although it can be fabricated.
That's interesting. I did some research on small group discussion work and whether it promotes independent learning last year. Part of that was ascertaining how students felt they learnt best and almost every one said they learnt best when working together. It's certainly worked well for my current year 10 class who I had in year 9 and used as my research group that year. They're much more independent and able to come up with ideas for themselves now - which is helpful as they are much more able to tackle their GCSE texts and work now.
But I do agree that sometimes the kids need to sit down and listen, and I tell them that - 'Sometimes it can't be fun - sometimes you just need to listen, write down, and learn.'