Does Learning Have to be Fun to be Successful?
So, clearly fun in-and-of-itself is not the aim of education in most of our minds. And yet, if we can make it fun, good. The problem (in my own way of thinking) is that FUN as too high of a priority works like salt water…it seems to make sense to quench your thirst when lost at sea, but it will eventually kill you.
AMUSEMENT originated with A + MUSE, or NOT + THINK. Good students eventually learn that hard work and study and enduring frustration is worthwhile (though it often isn’t fun).
I think the question of fun likely needs to be re-framed to a discussion about FEELING GOOD. The points people make about kids ‘hating’ math are right. If you learn to hate a subject you just won’t learn it.
Our homeschooling goal in this area was to get the kids to FEEL GOOD about learning in the LONG TERM. The way feeling good comes about is by mastery and benefit. Frankly, I don’t find reading to be a good feeling, but I do find reading a good book to feel good. There are so many different reasons why someone might feel good about something; fun is only one of them.
Even The Blues has this aspect… It’s about feeling good about feeling bad
“When the only tool you have is a hammer, then you’ll tend to treat every problem as a nail”
If fun is your only (or primary) tool or aim in education, there won’t be much of a way to overcome the ‘It’s not fun’ issue when the kids are older. For me in my own trek through academia, I’d say lots of it wasn’t fun, but it certainly was worth it.
Dr. Fred Ray Lybrand