In my most recent newsletter, I wrote about the joy of learning and wondered how we might bring fun back into our classrooms for all students, both young and old. When our children are in grade school, they are allowed to learn while playing up until about the 4th grade, at which point, there is a shift to more serious sit-in-your-seat learning and less play. There is still lunch and recess, along with bi-weekly P.E. classes, but active learning takes a back seat to the passive learning and reduced physical activity. Of course, this continues into middle and high school, where students struggle to see the value or the joy of learning when they struggling to sit still and pay attention.
I understand and appreciate the difficult job of teaching a class overcrowded with students at the K-12 level and beyond. And, it is very important to teach a certain amount of material to each class each year in order for them to move to the next level.
My suggestion is to ask both teachers and students:
• “What will it take to make this learning experience better for everyone?”
• “What suggestions do you have to keep students/yourselves engaged in the learning process?”
As an ADHD coach, I help students find new ways to keep themselves motivated and focused in school and when doing daily homework or writing a research paper. Sometimes we discuss the tidbits of a course that is interesting to them to get the creative energy going. Other students need actual playtime and active learning, resulting in shooting hoops while listening to books on tape or sitting on an inflatable exercise ball to keep the body in motion so the mind can focus.
I attended a coaching conference a few years ago and our creative conference team removed all the chairs and filled the room with exercise balls while we were at lunch. What a fabulous idea! We sat, we rolled, we listened intently, and we learned. A team of my coaching colleagues delivered a presentation at the annual CHADD conference last year and had their children hand out pipe cleaners and fidget toys to the audience before starting the presentation. Another wonderful idea to keep us focused and having fun while learning.
My challenge for you this week is to post your ideas and comments to our blog so we can share them with others throughout the month of September. Stay tuned for more on coaching and learning next time.