Last week, I met with Educators to teach a class on Creative Lesson Planning. The class was a blast from beginning to end. The environment may have added to the evening’s light and humorous quality as we met in a restaurant/bar instead of a standard classroom. Yet, it was not the first time that I had taught and given credits during a Happy Hour setting, but this evening had a special quality to it. Perhaps it was the synergy of the individuals present that allowed everyone to let their guard down and have a good time while learning. Whatever it was, after the class, I found myself asking why this quality was not more present in learning and academic environments. Don’t we learn more easily when we’re having fun? Doesn’t laughter and play take the edge off of our fears and feelings of inadequacy? Then why is school and academia so often devoid of joy, laughter and playfulness?
I am all for serious moments of concentration and focus, but the lightness of this evening brought smiles to everyone present and we ended up staying past the prescribed time of the class. Just think how our classrooms might benefit with the addition of this more informal, playful inclusion. Through medical research, we know that stress is the # 1 cause of immune deficiency, disease and even premature death. Last night was a stress-busting event for everyone present and they fulfilled their professional obligations of procuring credits and applying them academically.
Students of all ages can benefit from an approach to learning that integrates laughter and playfulness. How can creativity be explored and subjects we have labeled as challenging or serious be taught so that the students embrace them with glee and attentiveness? As an experiment, see what you can do to add joy, laughter and ease to your professional and personal life especially to the parts of your life that you label as difficult or drudgery. Have fun with it and then let me know your results.
In lightness and laughter,