Instead of a quick post about something you can change quickly in the classroom, I had another idea for today’s post and it was inspired by my son. My son is 3 years old and has no fear when it comes to trying out a new toy or anything else that he can play with. He does not ask how it works, he does not require a training session on it and he definitely does not need me showing him every step. He plays with it, he makes mistakes, he corrects those mistakes and he just enjoys the learning experience. The first time he played with my iPad was very interesting to me because although he did not know exactly how it worked, he had a lot of fun just playing with it and making the screen change by touching it. He can now do so much with that device when we let him play with it, try to keep control over his screen time but there are just so many great learning apps for him that it does provide a great learning experience when used in connection with physical learning activities.
At some point between being a 3 year old and being an adult, many people forget how to just play with things in order to figure them out. They ask for help every step of the way and if that help is not available, they just do not try. I have seen this at work, I have seen this with family and I have seen this with friends. We forget how much we can learn by just picking up something and playing with it. I still love to just get something new and play with it, see how it works and then find ways that I can use it. I did this in the classroom and I do this in my personal life, I am not afraid to just play with something in order to learn how to use it.
As teachers, we need to remember that this is all part of the learning experience. There is so much about trying something out, failing, figuring out how to improve and trying again that should be included in our learning environments. The fear that so many have with trying something new and possibly failing translates into a much less explorative learning environment. We should not need an expert to help us learn when we have so many resources available to us and we have the ability to play.
I always knew that having a kid would change me as a person, I was just not prepared for how it would change me as a teacher. Watching my son grow and learn gives me a greater chance to be reflective of the learning that takes place in our classrooms. Thankfully, he is around to remind me to keep playing as it is a big part of the learning experience.