Education Can Be Enjoyable
Contrary to popular belief, education can be enjoyable. When thinking of school, the first thing that comes to mind is a classroom full of students sitting in desks. The majority of the room is dozing off into space or texting behind the teacher’s back, totally checked out of whatever lecture is going on at the time. That’s a pretty typical scene for any student, whether in high school or even in college. And college students particularly get a bad rep for classroom attentiveness, yet high-performance expectations are placed on them. Combined, that’s a recipe for educational disaster. No one is blaming you. Biology and accounting are only interesting to a point- and then you have to MAKE it fun.
There Is a Neuroscience Behind Education
For learning to truly sink in, for us to truly feel engaged, it must be fun- interactive, thought-provoking, and different from the norm we are used to. There has been extensive research that shows superior learning occurs when all-of-the-above is checked off the list and the classroom experience is relevant to the individual students’ interests and relatable struggles. Maybe that is the key for education to be enjoyable- relatability. After all, no matter if we are tucked away in the classroom or roaming about the world, we all want to feel as if we can relate. And at a university level, making the material relatable is key to engagement. Yes, we’re talking to you, professors.
When in Doubt- Gamify It
On the other hand, why not gamify the learning experience? We’ve personally seen gamification first-hand in university classrooms where teachers use platforms like Kahoot. Technology is just as distracting as it is helpful. But if students are going to be on their phones anyway, why not make them use their device for the sake of learning? Imagine if you were in a college lecture and your Physics professor said, “Ok everyone, open up Google. The first person to find [x] information wins one point on their homework.” We can practically hear the fingers frantically typing away searching for a hidden one-point gem of Physics information. On the flip side, as a student, you can gamify learning for yourself. This is where cultivating an internal drive and desire for challenge comes into play.
I personally think if something’s not a challenge, there’s no point in doing it, because you’re not gonna learn much.
That quote speaks volumes. Perhaps that's also why many students feel that attending university or furthering their education isn't for them. There is this perceived lack of challenge or engagement in the traditional classroom setting. But if education can be enjoyable based on the student’s drive for challenge or learning in a non-traditional manner, then we should be teaching those basic principles instead. So, the next time you think about checking out of Math class, think about the potential growth that comes after. Make it fun and challenging- if only in your head.