So this past Sunday I sat down with a few friends to watch a football game. As we screamed at each other and the TV I was struck by two interesting educational practices. The first was was how the teams we were interested in watching were teams that until this year we would never have sat down to watch. Being a teacher natural this intrigued me, why are we all so excited to see this game. The answer was simple we were invested in this game. We all had a stake in it because of Fantasy Football. I immediately got to thinking about my class and how I could create this same type of atmosphere. If I could get kids invested in a topic even a small portion of that topic I can keep them engaged and actively participating. While it seems so simple it often is quite difficult for teachers and students to find that topic or subject that will captivate individual students.
As I continued to sit on the couch and tease and cajole the others in the group another revelation hit me that made perfect sense. Allow them to play. So often we stifle kids creativity and do not allow them to play games and with each other in class. If teachers are able to create an atmosphere of play and interaction among the students students would be engaged and actively participating in their education. We live now in an ever increasing social world with Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and other social websites. Students need to feel connected. They are connected 24/7 to friends and family but at school often feel isolated and alone because they loose that connection. If teachers can simply providing that connection in class they can help to create a learning environment better suited to the students of today.
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