Widdicombe or snowman

March 4, 2009 at 5:39 pm Leave a comment

I know it is a long time gone but just reflecting on the controversy over school closures due to the recent snow I note an article in this weeks TES in which a headmaster of a primary school in London is quoted as saying;

‘…..children all over the country stayed at home, had a wonderful time playing in the snow, and probably learned twice as much as they would have done at school.’

This is in stark contrast to Ann Widdicombe’s comment that the closure of schools just showed how lily livered we had all become, no stiff upper lip and all that.

I’m sure the concept that young people can have fun whilst learning is somewhat alien to her as indeed it is to many of the teachers and parents I talk to. The view that somehow education has to have some stern aspects to it if it is to be considered serious can be very deep rooted.

In turn this leads to rejection of the idea of games based learning regardless of any evidence of its potential effectiveness. By games I mean any type of game, whether technology based, or simply building a snowman.

Yet, almost all people I talk to who have endured our education system have a tale about a particular subject they enjoyed because the teacher ‘brought it to life’, made it fun, and subjects that have been rejected because their teacher made it boring.

This dependence on the vagaries of different teachers introduces an unacceptable inconsistency into the classroom.

Better an individualised approach where the learner is able to take advantage of a variety of learning resources, including teachers, to learn according to their own proclivities. This does mean that the teacher is a resource amongst other resources to be called upon, or not.

The natural progression of this is that those teachers who are most fun will be in demand with those who are no fun eventually redundant – a sort of self regulating environment.

I wonder how long Ann Widdicombe would last then.

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Entry filed under: Future, Games, individualised learning, Learning, Personalisation.

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Mick Landmann on education, digital technology, and the 21st century

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