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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Review: The Power of Play - David Elkind

The Power of Play by David Elkind
is an insightful book. We all recognize that our children are the future. How do we help them learn well?

David writes:
"Learning is most effective when it involves play, love, and work. ... Children are not naturally motivated to learn from formal instruction. This motivation comes first and foremost from the ways in which literacy, math, music, and sports are introduced. Formal instruction is work. Parents and teachers are most effective if they build on children's love of stories, contrasts, rhythm and rhyme, unexpected facts, and humor. If we introduce literacy and numeracy with the use of these techniques, we build on children's spontaneous motivation and learning interesting and fun. At the same time, we also win the child's respect and affection and thus make the instruction a matter of play and love as well as work."

Can we also apply these best practices on how they learn to how we learn?

Aren't we still kids in some ways?

In many ways, yes.

I think if we look at how we learned best, we will recognize the same combination of play, love and work present at those key learning moments.

If these components were there, then in order to continue to learn, we should try and replicate the same combination of play, love and work in all our learning situations.

I would suggest that this combination of play, love, and work
There maybe other examples. These come to mind from activities I have been involved in.

I recommend this book to all those wanting to know more and especially to those who appreciate understanding how to learn.

For parents in particular, David closes the book with suggestions on how to beat the system. You can create opportunities to play the "Dumb books Caper", the case of the missing use, how to break the report card code, and tips on how to utilize the neighborhood tutor. These tips are worth working your way through the book. They will be fully appreciated (and balanced with play, love, and work) by the time you get to the end. Trying to get ahead of the "game" by going directly to the end defeats the purpose as you'll have missed the all important framing.

I have written a series of posts around other quotations from this book. The series is collected here.

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Comments on "Review: The Power of Play - David Elkind"


Blogger Bernie said ... (11:40 AM) : 

Thank you for this, Steve. Your careful review and extensive quotes are a real gift to anyone who believes in the value of play. It is puzzling, and a little sad, that people still need to justify play, especially when they have to justify children's play. You take us all one step further by suggesting that what Elkind has to say about play for children is at least equally relevant to what we are trying to say about play for adults. More power to you. More fun to us.


Blogger Steve Sherlock said ... (5:30 PM) : 

More fun is indeed a wonderful and worthy goal. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to share Bernie. Your comment is much appreciated. From such comments come conversations, and from conversations come more fun!


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