Are We Having Fun Yet Infusing Enjoyable Activities into EF

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Are We Having Fun Yet Infusing Enjoyable Activities into EF

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1. Are We Having Fun Yet? Infusing Enjoyable Activities into EF/SL Instruction Christine Coombe, Konrad Cedro & Guy Brooksbank Dubai Men’s College

2. “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -George Bernard Shaw-

3. Agenda Why is this topic important? Research on fun Basic needs for successful learning The FISH philosophy Fun through humor, challenge & discovery, organization & teamwork, fieldtrips Fun in the classroom: What students think?

4. Why is this topic important? Great teachers are those who make learning interesting by connecting it to learner interests tapping into intrinsic motivation  Great teachers are those who make the learning fun.  (Pillsbury, 2005) Current focus on improved standards, accountability and institutional accreditation, enjoyment in learning appears to have taken a back seat (Vale, 2003; Seed, 2004).

5. Research on fun Work or school, in its most traditional sense, is the antithesis of fun (Belkin, 2008).  As the old saying goes, “There’s a reason they call it work”. Several studies point to the benefits of ‘fun’ in the workplace and classroom Keeping people happy makes them perform better (Gostick & Christopher, 2008). 

6. More research on fun Numerous studies have shown positive effects of humor in the classroom (Berk, 2000; Berwalk, 1992; Bryant & Zillman, 1989; Clabby 1979; Colwell, 1981; Gorham & Cristophel, 1990; Pollack & Freda, 1997) Despite this, humor is still ‘underused’ in the F/SL classroom (Deneire, 1995)

7. Even more research on fun Being fun gets you hired.  a study of 700+ CEOs of major corporations found that 98% would hire an applicant with a good sense of humor over those who lacked one.  Working in a fun environment and having fun at work can make people loyal. survey of 1000 workers at a major corporation, employees who laugh at work tend to stay in their jobs longer.  Amusing people go far in their careers and in life. People described by co workers as having a good sense of humor ‘climb’ the corporate ladder more quickly and earn more money than their peers (Belkin, 2008).

8. Research on fun in ELT If we want Ss to like English, excel at it and make it part of their lives, activities that focus on helping Ss improve their competency are not enough.  We must find ways to help students discover pleasure in learning English.  (Williams, 2005).  Research into activities that give people pleasure, suggests that people enjoy activities over which they feel they have high competence and control provide them with a challenge they can handle (Williams, 2003). 

9. Basic needs for successful learning According to Glasser (1985), people are born with five basic needs:  to survive, to belong and love, to gain power, to be free and to have fun.  These needs are built into our genetics All five are equally important.  the more students are able to fulfill these basic needs while in school, the more they will apply themselves.  Similarly, Woolfolk (1995) suggests that people feel most motivated to learn when they are curious, interested and enjoy what they are learning. 

10. Adopt the FISH! Philosophy in your Classroom The FISH! Philosophy is a workplace management system created by John Christensen adapted to and widely used in the education field. FISH! is a philosophy based on four interconnected principles -- Play, Make Their Day, Choose Your Attitude, and Be There FISH was created when Christensen, the CEO of ChartHouse Learning, observed how animated and engaged fishmongers at Seattle’s Pike Place Fish Market were in their work. They filled orders by throwing fish to each other, inciting laughter from their customers. Customers were often invited to join in the fun. The Pike Place employees gave their complete attention to each of their customers and ensured that everyone had an enjoyable visit (Lundin, Paul & Christensen, 2000). Christensen realized that not only were these workers making a routine errand fun for themselves, they were also selling a lot of fish. The FISH Philosophy came about based on Christensen’s observations of the Pike Place employees FISH was created when Christensen, the CEO of ChartHouse Learning, observed how animated and engaged fishmongers at Seattle’s Pike Place Fish Market were in their work. They filled orders by throwing fish to each other, inciting laughter from their customers. Customers were often invited to join in the fun. The Pike Place employees gave their complete attention to each of their customers and ensured that everyone had an enjoyable visit (Lundin, Paul & Christensen, 2000). Christensen realized that not only were these workers making a routine errand fun for themselves, they were also selling a lot of fish. The FISH Philosophy came about based on Christensen’s observations of the Pike Place employees

11. Fish philosophy principles: Choosing Your Attitude The first step in setting up a successful classroom. As teachers walk into their classrooms they make a conscious decision about what type of attitude with which they are going to approach their teaching that day. This attitude can either positively or negatively affect students and/or learning outcomes.

12. Fish philosophy principles: Play Many teachers feel that when play happens, learning does not get accomplished. Similarly, administrators sometimes fear that when play occurs, teachers are not thinking about work-related issues or ideas and that it is just wasted time. ‘play’ can be intertwined with ‘work’. The value of having fun while completing important tasks is underestimated.

13. Fish philosophy principles: Be there Being there or being present is yet another important FISH concept. Stresses the importance of a teacher being mentally present and aware of student needs and issues. Many teachers today are not “there” for Ss Many are simply overwhelmed by their workload Others consciously or unconsciously choose not to care. It is important to be “there” for Ss to convince them that what they are doing is important.

14. Fish philosophy principles: Make Their Day This concept goes right to the heart of what motivates employees to go to work and students to come to class. By employing this important principle, teachers can accomplish curricular and learning goals as well as create an environment where learning is the principle motivating factor.

15. Fun through humor Studies in SLA and teaching indicate that the use of humor Raises student motivation (Medgyes, 2002; Tosta, 2001) Helps Ss reach higher social competences (Zajdman, 1995) Is an essential element of rapport building (Hasse Wittler & Hill Martin, 2004) Facilitates development of reading & listening (Wagner & Urios-Aparisi, 2004) Helps Ts & Ss deal w/stress (Coombe, Schmidt & Al Hamly, forthcoming)

16. How? Begin each class with a joke Appoint a student to be responsible for telling (and sometimes explaining the humor) Dual purpose activity Ss get practice speaking Ss learn what is (and is not) funny in different cultures Put those emailed jokes we receive on a daily basis to use with Ss

17. Fun through challenge and discovery Scavenger hunts Games in which Ss search for and collect misc objects in an open environment Objects can be tangible requiring Ss to bring back proof of completion Questions answered along a journey Consider the students’ learning environment Many tourist destinations make great environments for scavenger hunts

18. Fun through organization and teamwork Student run clubs are a great way to get Ss involved in organizing events & trips The running of these clubs also requires teamwork Dubai Men’s College Toastmasters Ss serve as roleplayers Global/Local Club Ss complete projects

19. Fun through fieldtrips Beneficial for both Ts and Ss Why? We learn by doing We remember what we have experienced Fieldtrips are a type of experiential learning Take us out of the traditional classroom setting, into a new mode of learning Can be simple or complex

20. Advantages of fieldtrips Ss get an educational experience that they couldn’t have in the classroom Fieldtrips help Ss interact with what they are learning They enrich and expand the curriculum They are a valuable extension of classroom instruction Ss experience a sense of community and camaraderie Considered a ‘fun’ way to learn

21. Planning a fieldtrip Many factors need to be taken into account Things to consider: Purpose of the trip Budget and sponsorship Identification of partners Identification of students & supervising staff Procedures for getting approval Preparation of a ‘blueprint’ of your trip What to do in case of emergencies Other?

22. Fun in the classroom: What students think? According to Ss, fun learning activities are those which: Change the routine of day-to-day instruction Often take them out of the classroom Help them get to know themselves and each other better

23. Final thoughts We have provided you with a theoretical & practical rationale for infusing enjoyable activities into the F/SL classroom As both the literature and anecdotal experience suggest: Learning and fun are a great combination!

24. Presenter contacts Christine Coombe, Konrad Cedro & Guy Brooksbank, Dubai Men’s College [email protected] [email protected] [email protected]

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