It’s OK to Have Fun!
My students have to sit for an international exam soon, and as you might well know, exam preparation can be extremely stressful and exhausting. One day, while we were practicing for the oral exam, the question “Have you ever sung in front of your class?” came up. To my absolute surprise Mark* said he wanted to share a song he had published on our blog and asked me to come to the front of the class. I was absolutely amazed when he started singing in front of everyone. I couldn’t believe my eyes! Mark, an exceptional kid who is really shy and lacks confidence, was singing and boy was he singing! It was such a magical moment. What a beautiful voice! Such talent! Listening to him sing was absolutely inspiring. Everybody started clapping and cheering his name. Mark, his parents and I have worked together pretty hard to help him gain confidence. He has made great progress, but I never would have imagined he would sing in front of everyone. Few minutes later, something even more incredible happened…Sophie* stepped in front of the class and started singing another song that had also been shared on our blog. Mark had led the way and now Sophie was following his steps… Such great time were we having together that we decided to repeat this every Friday.
My students love our Singing Fridays! I’m amazed how hard they work to prepare their songs. What’s more, it has also helped Mark and Sophie gain confidence and their attitude in class is different now. Kids have even asked me to have them sing on our Open House at the end of the year. Mark and Sophie’s role in the group is also different now. They are never left apart and kids are always inviting them to play. I have even noticed kids asking them for advice on what songs to sing.
For English language learners every opportunity to be exposed to the English language outside the classroom is important and this has led to students looking for songs, listening to them and going through their lyrics at home! What’s more, one girl has even written her own song.
So incredible is what happens every time we have our Singing Fridays that after reading Joan Young‘s post “The Power of Spontaneity” I was inspired to bring more of these moments into our classroom. So we started having our “Singing Fridays” event before every exam preparation class. This has helped them relax and even their attitude towards exam preparation has become more positive.
I strongly believe we need many fun moments in our classrooms. It helps build better learning environments. Kids feel safer and have a better attitude when having fun. I’ve also noticed that it helps build a better community. Not only can teachers connect in a deeper way with their students but students can also connect between them in a stronger way.
I sometimes get the impression that saying the word “fun” in education is like saying “we are not learning”. I feel that is absolutely wrong. Don’t you feel more motivated to learn if you know you’ll be having fun too? So do kids! I feel that combining learning and fun is really powerful. We shouldn’t be afraid of embracing these moments in our classroom. Children love to have fun and to play. Kids feel eager to learn while having fun. Let’s challenge ourselves and bring more fun and play moments into our classrooms. Not only will we be motivating our students, we’ll also be fostering the love for learning in them.
* Real names have been changed.