Saturday, October 30, 2010

FUN in Learning As Inspired by 826 Valencia

My lovely and talented Mum is always sending me interesting links off the beaten path in art and culture. Lately, she's taking a course on Dance Pedagogy so the links have trended toward teaching creativity. I found this Ted talk by Dave Eggers to be really inspiring. (Thanks Mom!)

His enthusiasm for education is obvious, but what I love about his approach is that it includes FUN! In fact, FUN is the primary strategy for engaging the kids at his tutoring studio, 826 Valencia.

Because of a zoning law that requires them to have a storefront, it doubles as a Pirate Supply Company! They went all out to make it a delightful place for kids to come and hang out after school, and the students get to work with some of the brightest minds in writing today. (The Gallery of Signs is worth investigating, by the way.)

When I think back to my own educational experience, I remember a lot of fun. Over time, that led me to associating school with enjoyment. I can see now that the enthusiasm FUN offered led to a joy in engaging my intellect. I learned that making my brain think, consider and reason was pleasurable. I gained confidence from thinking something through and then expressing those thoughts.

I think another element to consider as a teacher is that to encourage creativity in your students, you must demonstrate it for them in your own approach to teaching. You must put yourself into what you are doing. Your experiences and interests are engaging to you and so they will help to engage the students. At least, that is the theory I'm operating under now as a novice teacher.

Other tutoring studios that are following this approach of FUN in learning include:

The Echo Park Time Travel Mart: Wherever you Go, You're Already There.

Putting all these places on my "to visit" list! I'm sure many of you are also educators, and certainly all of us have the luxury of being educated. So what ideas and thoughts do you have on this topic? Did you enjoy school, or was it a drag? What were the contributing factors for you as a student? Let's discuss dearies!

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