Entertaining Education in Schools
Entertaining Education sounds like such an oxymoron. How can a child learn something while being entertained? Entertainment is meant to be mindless and something you do after you have finished learning. But have you ever watched PBS? Any program that caught your attention on PBS is Entertaining Education, you or your child learned something while enjoying yourself.
Why this concept hasn’t made it into most schools is beyond me. Don’t you turn on your MP3 player if you have to be stuck in a cubicle? People were not meant to sit in complete silence. Neither were children. In nature there is no such thing as complete silence there’s always a slight breeze, a ripple of a hidden stream, the chirp of a bird somewhere out of sight.
So let’s blend the two concepts. Removing silence and adding more entertainment to education while saving schools money in the process, which is something most school districts world wide are looking to do. Instead of losing out on subjects and additional activities put them together to allow both to be taught. For instance, instead of losing gym class make it part of biology or physiology. Students would learn about their body parts while exercising them. Use teachers who can lead gym class and still get the students prepared for an exam in science. Dodge ball can be a game about getting an opponent and destroying germs with white blood cells before they can glom on to red blood cells.
Many subjects can be managed this way allowing students to get a complete education with a minimal amount of staff. Music and Art Class can be integrated into a study of history and social science. When I was in elementary school, our school hosted a multi cultural fair. The Kindergarteners and first graders studied Africa, the second and third grade covered Asia, the fourth and fifth grades covered Native America, and special education did Mexico and South America. The art teacher developed projects for us to create that related to the culture, the music teacher taught us songs, the teachers had us do research and memorize the facts of our regions. Then each grade level presented what we had learned and created and knew to everyone else. The kindergarteners could teach the fifth graders something about Africa they didn’t know before. It was hosted as an open house so the students educated each other and the adults in their lives.
At a high school level students can help relate historical dates and points in history through the art, music, and language created and used in those cultures at those times. Teachers can be encouraged to use films to give a visual means of seeing a time period as a good way to integrate what a world truly looked like, as long as the films are fairly historically accurate. Field trips and reenactments are great for teens because they get to participate in their education. Science can be taught by planting trees, cleaning up ecosystems such as a small stream or wetland near their school. Teens need to be in motion and they can be while still learning.
Allowing teachers to use things like cooking and music theory to teach students to better handle math, makes better students. Cooking and baking teaches fractions, quantities, measurements, and a life skill. Music theory teaches fractions, timing, and helps improve focus. For young children building with Lego’s is a great time passer but can be focused into teaching robotics, mechanics, and more. There are ways to make education better. You just have to try.
As parents and educators we need to be the beginning of this new era of education, if your area schools are lacking or are facing cutbacks bring up the ideas you have just read about. If you have a young child in addition to teaching them their letters and numbers include cookie baking where they can learn about science and perhaps create their letters or numbers out of cookie dough.
Just because money needs to be saved or tradition needs to be preserved doesn’t necessarily mean that subjects have to be lost or dull. Art, music, physical activity, creativity, without these things our world would be truly boring. When was the last time you rode down the street in your car with the radio off in complete silence, only to go home and not get online, not exercise, not turn on your TV, or avoid picking up a book? It’s just not in our nature to exist in a world without these things so eliminating them from our children’s world should not happen. They must be included even if it’s in a new and creative way.