Thursday, February 9, 2012

Play Dough...a little bit of that all it is?

This is my second blog about Glasser’s 1990 book on The Quality School.  I keep finding quotes that seem so relevant to this project.  In this set of quotes Glasser talks about how students perceive "good teachers":

“Students tell me that a good teacher is deeply interested in the students and in the material being taught.  They also say that such a teacher frequently conducts class discussions and does not lecture very much.  Almost all of them say that a good teacher relates to them on their level; the teacher does not place herself above them, and they are comfortable talking with her” (p.66).

 “Students also tell me that they appreciate teachers who make an effort to be entertaining.  To maintain student interest month after month in potentially boring courses, good teachers try to inject humor, variety, and drama into the lessons.  How to be entertaining cannot be taught:  Each teacher must work it out in his or her own way, but it is another way to gain admission into students’ quality worlds.  … the desirability that a teacher be entertaining is a further indication of how difficult it is to be an effective teacher” (p. 67).

Glasser continues to say that in many schools to be “entertaining” is frowned upon… there is a belief in “no pain/no gain”.  People don’t understand that “boredom is the enemy of quality”.  He says that we must “nurture teachers as they struggle to put fun and interest into their work”.

I must say I think Glasser was talking about what we are doing – we know the relationship piece for sure, we also know about the important of being passionate about the content… and some teachers in this project are really trying to add the novelty, the variety, choice, and some fun; finding what fits for them.  Glasser believes FUN is a real need.  One that we have underutilized in school for many years… to play with ideas and concepts, to work together with others, to have fun – these are relevant and meaningful ways to learn.

Glasser is not alone, Albert Einstein said “Games are the most elevated form of investigation”;Pat Kane, author of The Play Ethic says “Play will be to the 21st century what work was to the last 300 years of industrial society—our dominant way of knowing, doing and creating value;and Brian Sutton-Smith, professor of Education at the U of Pennsylvania “The opposite of play isn’t work.  It’s depression.” 

Thus… the Play Dough challenge for the month of February.  Along with all the other creative and interesting things you are trying... try some playdough and think outside of the box!  Successful or not -- that is okay.  Just let us know where it really works.  Let’s have a little fun and share our ideas with each others… in this way we will do what Glasser suggests about nurturing each other as we attempt to put some fun and interest into our work.

1 comment:

  1. That actually makes sense about the "entertaining" aspect of teaching that connects care for students with passion for the subject. It's also where I see the most variety among my staff... some are just plain funny, some are clever, some very dry (why do they always end up teaching senior english?) and some dramatic. The "selves" that teach. I'm glad you posted this, I needed to read it after a tough week where we've had to deal with students using twitter for some nasty talk, harassment, etc. I was beginning to think that students had hardened their hearts against the care from their teachers... thinking about the playdough puts it into perspective. I loved the playdough activities on the Different Lens blog, and it reminded me of what my geography students did last year... look for the video playdough_geology.m4v about half way down on