For learners to become lifelong learners and well-rounded happy people in society, it is important for us to work with them. Finding innovative ways of teaching that will produce effective results is a challenge that every teacher faces in the classroom. Integrating learning with games simply makes teaching and learning fun. In some cases where needed, it can provide an impetus for re-stimulating a child’s natural desire to learn.This is especially important if, during anywhere in the child’s schooling, there was an overemphasis on making the grade – where making the grade became a subconsciously anxiety-driven displaced goal for recognition and appreciation.
When emphasis is placed on grading, children become more concerned with achieving the grade than on the journey in achieving the grade, sometimes associating their “goodness” then, with the grade. An achiever-style A/B student can show achievement and success, though more often than not, it can be detrimental to the student’s self-esteem. The child’s struggle and focus can become a goal for the teacher’s acceptance, literally surpassing the learning aspect altogether.
Pedagogue, Alfie Kohn calls this “chasing the carrot” or “avoiding the stick” in his text What Does it Mean to be Well Educated? (2004). Kohn suggests that rewarding students for a certain grade can be as damaging as punishing for not having done so. Both methods skip over the central core of a student – the natural joy and thirst for learning. This natural thirst and joy for learning is present in children, so obviously in the early years. Though once introduced to the system of grading, the child can subconsciously develop strategizing – a subtle form of innocent manipulation to work at receiving that age-old important authority / parental / teacher’s acceptance.
Focusing on the importance of grades can breed memorizer students – those who practice memory techniques to give back to a teacher what the student thinks the teacher wants, rather than the optimal learner students. Even though memorizing can be an effective study tool, memorizing is not likely the quality learning result that a teacher truly wants for the student.
Where grading may be an important part of the educational system, it is only effective if minimal importance of it is placed upon the psyche of the child. Introducing games in the curriculum of a child’s schooling reminds the child that learning is by its very own nature, supposed to be fun. Designing curriculum that regularly incorporates left-brain/right-brain activities such as spatial functioning card games, both encourages the child to desire learning again (what was once a natural thing), and while literally developing new healthy dendrites in the child’s growing brain.
For an example on Teaching Through Inspiration, here are some of our Fun Math Learning Games: