The power of joy
“What we learn with pleasure, we never forget.”Alfred Mercier
Who was your favourite teacher at school?
I had a brilliant English teacher called Mr Moore. I remember lively classroom debates, discovering incredible books and media, and I remember laughing. I remember laughing a lot.
Of course, Mr Moore had a deep understanding of his subject, yet he made learning joyous, accessible and relevant for his students. As students, we engaged fully, achieved highly, and gained a deep appreciation for literature.
Thanks to Mr Moore, when I pick up a book as an adult, I do so with a firmly-rooted confidence that I will be able to understand it, and there’s a good chance I’ll really enjoy it too.
The courage to fail
I was a relatively shy and reserved student most of the time, however I felt much more confident in Mr Moore’s classes because I was enjoying myself.
My positive mental state made me more willing to offer my opinion, and offering an opinion is a profoundly important act. Crucially it risks failure.
Failure is essential for deep learning. The courage to fail, and to learn positively from failure, is essential for effective education.
Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.Samuel Beckett
If risking failure is critical to deep learning, and students are more willing to risk failure when they’re enjoying themselves, it follows that our aim should be to nurture joy within every learning environment.
This philosophy is central to our work. From day one, we have focused on creating content that is accessible, engaging and, most importantly, joyous.
Whether used in the classroom or at home, our videos and activities are designed to help create a joyous learning experience.
Ideas for joyous learning
In addition to using History Bombs Classroom, here are some further ideas for bringing joy into your lessons.
- Smile! Smiling is contagious. It’s also free, and super easy to do!
- Fun reinforcers such as a round of applause or literally patting yourself on the back is a great way to add joy and a sense of satisfaction.
- A class mascot, perhaps one students can share responsibility for and take home with them, can help create a sense of community and joy.
- Giving students choices will drive engagement and give students a sense of agency and joy.
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Written by Chris Hobbs