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Making Lessons Fun Does Not Help Children Learn

Summary:
Making lessons fun does not help children to learn, a new report has found. The widely held belief that pupils must be happy in order to do well at school is nothing more than a myth, according to the Centre for Education Economics. A report published by the think-tank, titled titled “The achievement–wellbeing trade-off in education”, argues that traditional teaching methods may not be particularly enjoyable for pupils but are the most effective. These include direct instruction, where a teacher stands at the front of the class and presents information, drilling, where pupils repeat words or phrases after the teacher, memorisation, and memorisation. The report says that these methods are “crucial for successful learning” because they allow pupils to transfer information from their working

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Making lessons fun does not help children to learn, a new report has found. The widely held belief that pupils must be happy in order to do well at school is nothing more than a myth, according to the Centre for Education Economics.

A report published by the think-tank, titled titled “The achievement–wellbeing trade-off in education”, argues that traditional teaching methods may not be particularly enjoyable for pupils but are the most effective.

These include direct instruction, where a teacher stands at the front of the class and presents information, drilling, where pupils repeat words or phrases after the teacher, memorisation, and memorisation.

The report says that these methods are “crucial for successful learning” because they allow pupils to transfer information from their working memory to their long-term memory. But they are “neither fun nor inspiring”, and are now considered to be old-fashioned “teacher-centred” techniques.

They have been replaced by “child-centred” learning, which became popular in the 1960s and 70s, and focuses on pupils’ enjoyment and wellbeing.

This approach may involve asking students to work together in small groups, discuss issues among themselves and express their opinion.

The emphasis is on keeping students engaged and interested by allowing them to learn from eachother rather than exclusively taking instruction from the teacher.

Miles Kimball
Miles Kimball is Professor of Economics and Survey Research at the University of Michigan. Politically, Miles is an independent who grew up in an apolitical family. He holds many strong opinions—open to revision in response to cogent arguments—that do not line up neatly with either the Republican or Democratic Party.

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