Around we go again…

Seriously now: what?

Some how it’s already 2017, a year whose only bonus is that it’s not 2016. Of course, that might mean nothing more than saying 1917 wasn’t 1916, but let’s give it a chance.

Relieved of my duties as a fellow on the UK in a Changing Europe programme, I’m expecting to spend more time back in L&T matters, starting tomorrow morning, bright and breezy, with a workshop for our univeristy annual L&T event, Surrey Excites.

Apparently I’ll be running a one-hour workshop on how to keep the fun in teaching. Their suggestion, but one that sounded interesting back in the middle of last year.

Of course the big question – and certainly the question my children have been pestering me with since I told them about this – is “what am I doing to be doing?”

I’m so glad you ask.

In the spirit of developing my ideas through sharing them with you – and with the hope that none of my audience reads this before tomorrow – I’ve got three main ideas I want to develop:

  1. Fun can’t just be for fun’s sake. It’s great having a great time in class, but it can’t be solely in the cause of having a laugh. Thus, we have to be careful to avoid the “it’s the last week of semester and I have run out of things to do, so let’s do something fun instead” syndrome. That means clear learning objectives and proper connection to the rest of what you do.
  2. Fun can’t just be fun for you. It needs to be fun for everyone in the class, otherwise you just fall back into the first trap. Importantly, it not only means that students need to have fun, but so do you: as anyone who has been to a party with me will know, it only takes one grouch to ruin the atmosphere.
  3. Be flexible. Of all the many, many fun things I’ve done in a classroom, there has only been one thread that connects them: they’ve all been different. A big part of making something fun – and keeping something fun – is a constant changing up and changing around of elements. Add in something new, take something away, re-order, re-purpose, introduce some chaos. One of the big things that makes learning so enjoyable is discovering new things, so create new environments, rather than re-producing old ones.

Reading this back, it’s rather dry. Which is why the rest of today is going to be spent making something new to explore it. And I’m excited to say that I don’t know what that will look like.