There’s a reason why it’s called an educational institution. That’s because when most kids go to school, they feel like they are in jail, restricted from the fun they can have at home, in the field, or with friends. Why can’t their education be fun, too? Why must it always be structured and equalized? Why must education meet the needs of all children all the time in a diverse classroom? Why must the federal government continue to mandate changes for something they appear to be unqualified to change? How can we put the FUN back in FUNdamental education?
When I was in school, I enjoyed the ride to school on the bus. My friends were there. We joked. We gossiped. We daydreamed out the window. We talked casually about anything we wanted to discuss. Then when I got to school, the fun ended. I was made to sit in a row … alphabetically… away from my friends… near a potential bully. The day progressed through a series of subjects designed to increase my knowledge of math, English, history, science, and some arts-related topics. And yes, I did increase my knowledge, only because my grade depended on it. But where was the love of knowledge? Where was the fun of investigating new topics? Where did I fit into the overall scheme of the faulty education system?
I’m not here to rant without offering a solution. I want to suggest that the Federal Government fund programs that help children understand that learning is FUNdamental to their success as an adult. Here’s how:
- Kids like fun. I know that’s not front page news, but in addition to requiring teachers to list the goals and objectives for the day (because as a former teacher, I do think they help with the organization), teachers should be required to list one fun activity per day. That could be five minutes of playing an education-related game. It could be ten minutes of reading for fun, rather than required reading. It could be a round-table discussion about items in a suggestion box. Brainstorm with the kids what they consider to be fun and add that into the curriculum… not once a week or once a month, but every day. Don’t worry about meeting the curriculum demands. When students have FUN, they will be more eager to learn at other times.
- Kids need to move. Collectively, they have enough energy to power New York City! Plan motion time into the curriculum. Let them get out of their seats and stretch, not just for half an hour during gym class, but every hour for at least five minutes. If kids know they will be allowed to move soon, they will be more likely to achieve motionless education for a brief period. Movement is definitely FUN.