Lesson 63: The Secret of Learning is Playing, not textbooks please...

"Coach, what are we going to play today?"

Students were often excited to ask this question when they came to the class.

Conducting games is one of my task in order to guide the students in thinking and learning. playing games in the class is a time that they longed for. in addition, there were no homework given so they always came with happy faces, and went home with  happy faces.

However, recently here were some parents who complained about this method.

"Each time after class, I would ask my kid, 'What did you learn today?' and he wold say, 'Wow, today's game was so fun!' but found it hard to recall what he had learned in the class. I think he did not learn anything at all! There is a problem in this method! Coach, could you please give some homework for the kids to do?"

I understood the parents' concern. The learning process of most of the kids now is to go to the school, go back home, do homework, and then go to tuition, go back home again, and do homework, day in and day out. Therefore, students who 'played games' was seen as 'lazy' and made the parents felt bad about it.

But, have we ever wonder what is education? Does that mean that doing homework is the only way to learn in the class?

Without knowledge of the child-- its mental development, thoughts, interests, hobbies, abilities, instincts, and inclinations-- there is no education. (Savyl Sukhomlinsky, Soviet educator)

When everyone is urging for 'holistic education', the mind-body development of the children were not really being addressed. Many of the parents said, "You can't improve in your exam results even if you play a lot of games! The results are important!" Well, it is clear that we have not dump away our old thought, which we thought "results= learning", while we are proposing a new concept.

In fact, it is the nature of the kids to learn via playing. Drawing, recreation activities or sports, are all games. Playing games is the mini life experiences for the kids. Preschool education in Finland teaches children with games and activities. The teachers in Finland teaches the kids subtly  to learn a lot of life skills through games. For example, kids were brought to the forest to learn a bout the mother nature, and meanwhile teaching the kids to count the berries that they picked during the journey. Too sad to say that in our country, teachers always use text book or pictures to explain 'what is a forest' and then train the kids to write the vocabularies in order for them to remember all sorts of names.

On the other hand, the kids in Finland learn the good attitude through sports. For example, The teachers in Finland discussed about 'perseverance' while having skiing session with the preschool kids. After skiing, all the kids would write down their own realizations. Malaysia too, is imparting this method. However, due to the lacking of real life experiences, the kids had difficulties to write their realization even with the teachers' guidance.

Without experiences, learning and realization cannot be achieved. indeed, games provides a chance for the kids to experience life. There were many students who could tell me a lot of principles. However, when they lost in games, they often cried and said, "It's unfair!" This is the right time to learn. When failure occurs, learn to accept failure and find a better way to improve. It would be ineffective if the kids learn the values merely through the textbook.

It is sad to say that even though we realize the importance of holistic principle, many parents are still stress on the kids' academic results. 

If you are caught up in just <one thing> and do that only, you are doing merely ‘one tenth of the whole.’You will develop only in that aspect, only that aspect will be resolved, and only that aspect will be fulfilled. Do <the whole> well balanced. This applies to your life as well as your faith (Joshua J)

In order to nurture good children, textbooks are not enough, but balanced development in all areas is the key.

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