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Evie
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Joined: 24 Oct 2008
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Location: Kenilworth, Warwickshire, UK

PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 3:36 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote

I would also add that Facebook, Twitter, etc, are being used as part of education now - part of the web 2 generation, of using the web interactively rather than as a one-way source of information.  I only know this because of my new job at the university library, and Warwick University, at least, is working on how to make use of social media in an educational environment.


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Apple



Joined: 24 Nov 2008
Posts: 1751



PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Himadri Wrote:
Quote:
There’s nothing wrong with fun, obviously, but education is not “fun”, and shouldn’t be treated as such. Learning anything that is worth learning requires effort, and that is as it should be


What absolute rubbish! I'm sorry but I have never disagreed with anything more in my life.  If it wasn't for "fun" ways of learning - which I call "different" ways my son wouldn't be getting the grades he is getting and doing as well at school as he is doing by standards of greatness they are not outstanding grades but as I have previously mentioned he has learning difficulties so average grades for children who do not have learning difficulties are I think outstanding for him and those "fun" ways of learning have helped him learn to read, write properly and get on and further to your argument that things easily learnt are easily forgotten is wrong as I have witnessed with my own eyes in his case, the way he is now being taught and the different methods available are making the facts stick in his head more and making things click better than the traditional methods of teaching and for someone who previously was getting rock bottom low grades and who just sat at the back hoping not be noticed has now with the new methods jumped to the TOP sets in science and history and middle set in English  - and has gained confidence by the bucket load, is answering questions and putting forward ideas not bad for someone with special educational needs using "fun" ways of learning

Himadri also wrote:
Quote:
Oh, absolutely – intellectual activity can indeed be, and often is, enjoyable. No argument with that at all. But an initial effort needs to be made for that kind of enjoyment. What I was referring to as “fun” is the sort of amusement that does not require that initial investment of effort (and I think we may agree that Facebook activities come under that category); and I do feel that if we send out the message to children that effortless “fun” can be of educational value, then that is a bad message to send out, as its effect is likely to be to discourage that investment of effort that leads to a more fulfilling enjoyment.

I also disagree with this as in my opinion it does not give children that message whatsoever, and that is a very narrow  point of view because  the teaching methods which you are rubbishing as "effortless fun" maybe effortless and pointless to someone like you with god knows how many qualifications, but are hard work and require an enormous amount of effort and input from all children with special educational needs. A lot of these children have been rubbished by people  who do not understand dyslexia and the like and to suddenly have activities and teaching methods which make things click for them and for everything to become clear also has the effect of them putting in more effort to achieve greater things.

Sandraseahorse Wrote:
Quote:
This "let's make everything fun" approach trivialises important themes and undermines empathy with the past.
No it doesn't, not if you tailor the activity to the subject, it can have a tremendously profound effect, watching DVD's, drama and role play are used quite a lot in my sons school and he has come out with more empathy as a result as he has watched things or acted them out and had to feel the emotions of different situations, and as a result has managed to go on to produce some stunning pieces of work full of empathy for the characters of the story or people of that time (depending on the subject). Board Games and the like have also been used in my sons history/geography lessons to help remember important dates and other facts. Of course you wouldn't make a game out of a subject like the Holocaust and any teacher who even thought about it should be sacked but any teacher worth their salt would use the appropriate activity to the subject matter so important subjects don't get trivialised but the facts get taught and learnt and empathy is maintained.


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Melony



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 364



PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe we are in one of those transitional periods of time - I bounce back and forth all the time between Himadri and Apple's opinions both. On the one hand, it is impractical to think that all of education should be or is going to be fun.  All of life is not fun.  It is also impractical to think that everyone learns the same way.  Manipulation of the content does help understand it - that's why people take apart bicycles or Volkswagons and put them back together again.  A book is no different.  It's why Euclid invented the Bride's Chair to explain Pythagoras's 5th theorem - his students had reached the pons asinorum and he had to find a way to get them over.

Has anyone seen this video by Sir Ken Robinson (if I've already posted it before, please excuse me):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U

WATCH IT if you haven't seen it already.  You may not agree with all of it, but it is very provocative about the education dilemma.

"We are preparing students for their future, not our past." Daniel Pink, A Whole New Mind


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TheRejectAmidHair



Joined: 19 Nov 2008
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Location: Staines, Middlesex

PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know that w ecan get aay from the fact that a lot of learning - a lot of important learning - is a hard slog. Mathematics, say, is great fun once you get beyond a certain point. But getting to that certain point is a hard slog. I wish it weren't, but it is. And even after you've got to that point, the "fun" element comes from hard work, and is not a substitute for it.

Literature is an area I feel is prticularly vulnerable to trivialisation. Indeed, we see the trivialisation of literature all around us. If learning can be made fun, then great - go for it! But I do not feel it is correct to convey the impression that literature must be fun. I do feel that if one sets out to learn something properly, then one must be prepared for hard slogs, and not expect everything to be merely "fun".



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Melony



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 364



PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are right. Reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is no substitute for reading Pride and Prejudice, nor is watching the movie. Those bring joy and added meaning only after the real novel has been traversed.  Learning comes in layers like an onion, but we want to get to only the fun part first, which removes the meaning and makes it only superficial. But I do think that a good combination can be had and does increase the joy in learning. The 2.0 generation is here and it won't stop. It has to be addressed.


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Apple



Joined: 24 Nov 2008
Posts: 1751



PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 12:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Himadri Wrote:
Quote:
I don't know that w ecan get aay from the fact that a lot of learning - a lot of important learning - is a hard slog. Mathematics, say, is great fun once you get beyond a certain point. But getting to that certain point is a hard slog. I wish it weren't, but it is. And even after you've got to that point, the "fun" element comes from hard work, and is not a substitute for it.

Literature is an area I feel is prticularly vulnerable to trivialisation. Indeed, we see the trivialisation of literature all around us. If learning can be made fun, then great - go for it! But I do not feel it is correct to convey the impression that literature must be fun. I do feel that if one sets out to learn something properly, then one must be prepared for hard slogs, and not expect everything to be merely "fun".
Yes I agree with that to  point but what is wrong with "Fun" ways of educating children if it produces results? As I said before, people (not only children) with different levels of learning disabilities from the mild to the very severe find ANY kind of learning a "hard slog" as you put it, so if there are ways of making that "hard slog" a little more enlightening and giving the confidence to continue and persevere then surely that is a good thing, these different methods of education may be trivial and easy for you to dismiss but when I see my son comes home and he tells me with the pride in his eyes and the feeling of self worth he gets when he has accomplished something and learnt something using these methods, something which he he previously found inconceivably hard then I am all for it, he was unable to read and write properly - arguably two of the most important things to learn I tried my best to help him, but going on the fact I was taught (in the loosest sense of the word) by traditional means I was out of my depth "fun" and "alternative" methods were employed and the results have been astounding, lightbulbs have come on and he has taken off. Your argument that we should not convey to children that literature must be fun is also totally ludicrous, as it is that is the sort of attitude that is killing the sparks of initial interest which go on to grow into the love of literature in the future generations, and becoming a self fulfilling prophecy, whereby children are being turned off books and reading resulting in more and more extreme ways to try and re-engage them again resulting in the trivialisation and fall in standards which you find so abhorrent. Its all a question of finding a middle ground, I totally agree with you that there is no substitute for hard work, its an ethic which I had drilled into me and I in turn have instilled in my children but when traditional teaching methods just don't work for whatever reason then new and different methods have to be found for the people who the traditional methods don't work for or what happens? what happens is they are left behind and ultimately chucked on the strap heap!

Melony Wrote:
Quote:
You are right. Reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is no substitute for reading Pride and Prejudice, nor is watching the movie. Those bring joy and added meaning only after the real novel has been traversed.  Learning comes in layers like an onion, but we want to get to only the fun part first, which removes the meaning and makes it only superficial. But I do think that a good combination can be had and does increase the joy in learning. The 2.0 generation is here and it won't stop. It has to be addressed.
I agree with you, you have to make learning fun at first to plant the initial seed of interest and engagement at an early age, if its not been planted in the first place then there is no way for it to grow and develop. There is nothing at all wrong with superficial at the early stages as it gives a base to develop and build on.

What I am taking exception to is the assumption that has been expressed (not by you Melony) that these alternative and different methods which DO produce results - and excellent results where traditional methods have failed are somehow something to dismiss totally out of hand as trivialising learning and inferior when they clearly do have a place for certain groups of people. There has to be a healthy balance of all available teaching methods. In an ideal world this would be taken as read but we don't live in an ideal world, but we are living in a world that is changing rapidly and it does have to be addressed, 100 odd years ago with the teaching methods (some of them barbaric by todays standards) people probably had similar reservations to the changes in teaching as they came in and altered things, it is totally a question of balance and using the technology available to enhance methods already available.


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Melony



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 364



PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 2:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike said a very germaine thing a few posts back:

Quote:
I think this last factor - the problem of self-belief - is very often the key with under-achieving children.


I think this is very true.  I also think that what we are terming "fun" could just really be relevance. A person learns more easily when a subject is relevant to his/her life.

Also, I have always protested that I could teach with a rock and chisel, but I don't think that is true anymore.  The students are much more demanding of a production and intolerant of the time it takes to build the subtle nuances of a discipline. Maybe they always were, maybe they weren't - it's hard to tell.


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Apple



Joined: 24 Nov 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 8:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Melony Wrote:
Quote:
Mike said a very germaine thing a few posts back:

Quote:
I think this last factor - the problem of self-belief - is very often the key with under-achieving children.



I think this is very true.  I also think that what we are terming "fun" could just really be relevance. A person learns more easily when a subject is relevant to his/her life.

Also, I have always protested that I could teach with a rock and chisel, but I don't think that is true anymore.  The students are much more demanding of a production and intolerant of the time it takes to build the subtle nuances of a discipline. Maybe they always were, maybe they weren't - it's hard to tell.
This is so very true, children these days are far more willful and if they don't like something they won't do it, a lot of the problem I believe in this instance is down to discipline - or lack of it in schools as children know if the teachers do or say anything they can be had up for all sorts of hideous offences but thats another subject entirely, and I don't want to take things off in that direction or I'll be on my soap box all day.

But going from personal experience children with learning difficulties have a constant battle firstly to get their problems acknowledged and validated and then to get the help they need as, as astonishing it seems dyslexia and related problems are still very misunderstood and dismissed. My son was called lazy so many times before he was diagnosed, and he was diagnosed relatively early - possibly due to the fact I was on the case and  kept on at the school so much they got him assessed in the end to shut me up. But when they had the diagnosis they had no idea how to teach him and his self confidence was at an all time low when he went to secondary school, he believed despite my help which did not work either as I didn't know what I was doing that he was worthless and so there was no point in doing anything but they have been fabulous and with these methods that work for him, have unlocked the potential and he's realised and now believes he is not stupid and worthless and there is every point in making an effort because of that the effort he gives is unreal as he has caught up and in some cases overtaken some of his piers.

It is also worth noting that its not only children with learning difficulties that have problems, there are also the gifted and talented children who are so advanced that normal traditional teaching methods don't work for them either and they become bored and disinterested because they find the work too easy and need specialist and different ways of engaging them and stopping them becoming bored.


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TheRejectAmidHair



Joined: 19 Nov 2008
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Location: Staines, Middlesex

PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wasn't referring in any of my posts to children with learning difficulties.

As for children without learning difficulties, I think it a very bad idea to encourage the belief that anything worthwhile can be learnt without hard work.



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Sandraseahorse



Joined: 21 Nov 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apple, my son has learning difficulties and I was a parent governor at his special needs school.  I am fully aware that for children with learning difficulties the "chalk and talk" method doesn't necessarily get the best results; my son often remembers things more if he watches a TV prgramme on a topic than if people tell him about the subject as he responds to visual images.

However, the school I referred to with the board game is not a special needs school; it is a comprehensive. If, as you agree, it would not be appropriate to produce a board game about the Holocaust, then why should it be appropriate to do one on Elizabethan times?  Are their lives of less consequence?  That would go against the idea of empathy.

I am not seeking a Gradgrind system of pupils being force fed as many facts as possible.  I see the use of films, artefacts, original source material such as letters and diaries, role playing plus bringing in people to talk about, for example, their experiences during World War 2, justifiable methods of teaching history.

What worries me with the "fun and games" approach is that there is a danger that fun becomes the objective rather than a means to an end.  

Ironically, the only times I can remember being bored at school were during games.



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