December 2009

Let's Have Fun, Kids!

December 23, 2009 01:38

"I am mentally preparing myself for the five-year-old mind.  I want to come down to their physical limitations and up to their sense of wonder and awe." -Dr. Suzuki

As a violin teacher, a subject that seems to crop up a lot in my daily work is the notion of "fun."  Students would, of course, rather have fun than work.  Teachers strive to create both fun AND productive activities.  Parents worry that their child is not having fun anymore while practicing at home.  

There are mountains of books written (which, of course, I've read) pouring over how to make a fun learning environment.  What does and doesn't work in different educational settings is covered ad nauseum.   

I realized the other day after coming across the above Dr. Suzuki quote that it's kind of ironic how much adults over-analyze "fun."  What a fun lesson really boils down to is: if the teacher is not having fun, why should the kids?  The essence of fun is that it's entertaining, not hard to do  and slightly spontaneous.  Children get that.  As adults we naturally lose our sense of spontaneity.  Life has to be at least be partially planned out in order to function.

Teaching requires a constant reevaluation of one's presentation.  If an activity you read about falls flat once you actually try it, it doesn't necessarily mean that you're a bad teacher or bad parent.  It just means that it didn't mesh with your own personal style. 

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