During the summer break, I had the opportunity to reflect on what has been written about education, as well as my own journey this past year, as I returned to the classroom. What strikes me most, is the overwhelming pressure we put on our children, our teachers, our parents, our community, and our leaders. While it is essential that we discuss critical issues affecting the education of our future generations and to seek answers to these issues, I want to challenge us not to lose the “joy” of learning.
I believe we sometimes forget the power that “play” has in the process of education. As I reflect upon my own education I remember, as do many of you, the times when a teacher dressed up as a famous character to teach history, or the goofy stunts that happened in the lunch room, or the numerous carnivals and musicals, not to mention the times when we just hung out with our friends and enjoyed being at school. Yes, education is a very serious endeavor, but does it need to be devoid of enjoyment and fun? Doesn’t a motivation to work hard and learn difficult things come from the enjoyment we feel when learning? Aren’t schools social institutions that teach us about how to be productive and happy members of society?
I call on each member of our community to remember to put play, fun, enjoyment and love into the solutions we develop. As the new school year begins, how can we contribute to the “joy” of learning as well as the content we learn? As we all return to school this year (in a sense the whole community returns along with the children), take time to have fun and enjoy the magic that learning can provide and the motivation it can bring to the most difficult subject matter and learners.
Posted on Indy Star 8/9/10