Joy in Learning
August 25, 2016 by
Experience and research show that engaging students to follow their curiosity, to experience the joy in learning, and to enjoy the satisfaction of mastery ignites innate motivation and drives intellectual growth. Across the educational spectrum, this observation is often presented as a dichotomy: educators who emphasize joy and curiosity as the vehicles for driving enduring learning vs. educators who emphasize the mastery of content knowledge and skill development that are necessary for achieving success in future academic settings and careers. But there is no competition of goals here. The dispositions necessary for developing thinking, writing, and readings skills and acquiring information are best developed when students find purpose in their learning and satisfaction in their efforts.
Joy does not simply mean having fun; it means being engaged so completely by a task that time seems to go by without your even noticing it. It means embracing challenge on the way to a goal, delving in further when the answers are not yet apparent, and feeling the gratification of hard-won achievement.
This article offers compelling insight into the benefits of the “positive classroom,” and provides recommendations about the use of outdoor learning, choice, and documentation in order to achieve the intricate joy of authentic and meaningful learning. We do not sacrifice rigor, content mastery, or foundational skills by accessing the joy of the learning process; rather, we provide students with opportunities for dynamic study and enduring learning.