How Should Fun Learning Be Best Understood and Applied?

(A popular article; by one NEB)

Fun learning has oftentimes been referred to as a way of making students learn better and more effectively as it lowers students’ level of anxiety and increases that of excitement. I have no grudges whatsoever towards this fashion of learning. I just mean to point out that it has often been unfavorably understood and applied. And so I seek to recommend how it should best be manifested in teaching-learning practices.

From one end, from my observation, it is seen that teachers easily ‘manipulate’ this kind of learning into this reduced practice of giving (language?) games to students that: 1). do not require them to make use of complete language suited to their level but instead simply fractured language; 2). do not challenge their thinking skills to be reflected in the language they produce; 3). are applied so ( 1 and 2) to higher level students too.

From the other end, we know that we mean to deliver quality learning. Now, plain and simple, we can easily see that those two don’t really belong. That is, while fun learning is believed and practiced by teachers the said way above, quality learning necessitates quality process where students are demanded to use their language to the full–both in meaning and form whatever the activity is.

Those above two endeavors, therefore, produce this ‘clash of civilizations’ of teaching and training in that one concept yields one result, while another renders another; and these two results contradict each other. As such, the outcome I see is that while fun learning the said way shows happy learning on the part of students doing things with their oftentimes fractured language, the accumulation of their ‘supposed-to-have-been-learned’ language especially when they get to a higher level is not observed.

This later surprises the teacher who teaches the very same students in a higher level; upon noticing this, frustrated, the teacher can say something like: “So what have you learned so far not even now being able to …” (read, better: Lha, emang selama ini sebelum ini belajar apa aja sampai … kok masih ga bisa? Ck ck ck). This is even worse if we talk about these students’ putting their ideas in writing.

To solve the problem, to be disseminated–so I propose–is the true essence of fun learning. Teachers need to know what exactly this creature is and means. Only after they have better understanding of the true meaning of fun learning can they deliver their teaching in such a way that not only do they make their teaching and students’ learning fun in its best possible sense, but also, most importantly, they really make their students ‘learn something (new) they are going keep in their mind and show in their language behavior and bring on to the next higher level to be seen by their whoever next teacher.’ So be it that way.

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