Motivating Students Through Play and Games
Thanks to the advent of higher education online, the future of college is increasingly in the classroom. Online learning and technology means we can fit more students in the classroom, or off campus if need be. If you’re a high school parent, you may have to question how to create an environment where students really want to learn. It’s especially important for students to learn in an environment that is fun, engaging, and where they have fun doing it.
With the number of online courses increasing, they have become increasingly popular in high schools, in part because they allow students to take full credit hours online, without time constraints or pressures on them to progress through classes that are large in number.
Problem is, how do you really get students to learn more when the environment they are in is often lacking in spirit and encourages focus on non-value-added activities, like studying? For many high school students, work is the priority because they have long-term goals, leaving little opportunity for playtime. In an effort to bring a sense of humor, fun, and playfulness to high school, you need to look at getting creative with teaching and practices that encourage learning, and you need to find ways to reward them for their learning.
Here are some suggestions on how to move the discussion away from your student’s grades and into ways to reward them for learning:
Bring physical play into the classroom
In a physical play environment, much of the tension and fear that is typically a part of high school is reduced by some sort of physical play. Just like at home, when your kids want to play, they don’t have to wait around for you to say “no.” They can play on their own time and with their friends, and it breaks down the boundaries between them and their peers, and builds a sense of trust and support between them and the teacher and other members of the class.
Get athletic events into the mix
Sports are a great way to reinforce fundamentals in math and sciences, as well as play a part in developing character and contributing to the team. Everyone has a “zone” around which they excel, and it is important to find ways to bring it into the classroom. It is also important to encourage school spirit throughout the year. Making sure students are involved in local athletics and other activities that feel fun and genuine will make a difference in developing positive school spirit.
Limit time with laptops
Too much screen time is time for work, not playing. The comfort zone your students have in playing with their phones and laptops when school is out is a detriment to learning and development. It is important that they’re able to use these devices for school work and school-related activities, but the majority of their time should be for normal classroom activities like reading, writing, and drawing.
A playground can be the ideal place for games or even physical play to encourage exercise and get students moving. If they need to stay active during the day, then a safe place to play means they’re more likely to be able to do so throughout the entire day and not only during school hours.
Evaluate their activities and games
It’s important to evaluate how much time you spend just watching your student’s screen, if at all. That can be considered a wasted opportunity since not only does it reduce the opportunity for your student to get any sort of physical activity, but it can also limit the chance for that student to practice their talents in whatever activity they find enjoyable.
If time management is the issue, ask your student to rate how long they spend on screen time. If they rate it high enough, talk to them about how you would like them to spend their time. Here is a checklist of student activities and games you can discuss with them:
Do they use their computer on a regular basis? If so, what is the software they use and is it easy to learn, and enjoyable? It is important that students know how to use the tools that are offered to them, but also just what they should be doing with the tools that are offered to them, when they’re available, and at what time.
What sort of games do they play? Is it a Facebook game, an animation game, or a book-reading game? What are their favorite colors? Does it usually involve drawing or reading? If it’s a movie, do they like to watch it at home or at school?
Does it have some sort of educational bent to it, or do they enjoy having fun? You should also look at the overall impact that this game or activity is having on their life and the impact it is having on their growth. Some of the more time-consuming games, such as online solitaire, are not proven to have a positive effect on a student�