Edutainment is B***s***

Edutainment is the word most often used to describe the excessive use of games, faddy activities and other entertainment style lesson content in modern teaching practice. The idea goes that if you are having fun then you will remember more of the lesson and thereby learn better, or, you will enjoy lessons and so have a glowing mental view of that particular subject.

Aside from the argument that not all learning is about remembering things, in my opinion this practice removes the need for students to enjoy learning for the sake of learning. This way, they are enjoying themselves because the activity is funny, or novel, and the learning is just a side effect.

It has been adopted so much because it increases engagement. More students are on task and are doing the work when you use this method, and as mentioned, they retain more.

I firstly don’t understand how this method can be used until the students have some basic knowledge. For example, word games like crosswords to help with vocabulary can only be used if the vocabulary is already known. So how do you teach the vocabulary in the first place?

I also think this adds too much pressure and workload onto teachers, because they are having to constantly think up and plan for new and exciting content. There is an expectation that teachers are not just educators, they are professional entertainers too. This should really be the preserve of people such as musicians, writers and TV personalities, who are payed much much more to stay entertaining.

It panders too much to modern short attention spans, to style over substance and that there is an easy quick way to do everything.


Fred Tracy said...

I agree. There should be a happy balance between entertainment and education.

I think it should depend mostly on the personality of the teacher. If you're a more flamboyant teacher go ahead and have fun while you teach. If you're more down-to-earth, then just teach.

Do whatever feels right for you!

The Edudicator said...

A very interesting viewpoint... I have to disagree though, I think it shouldn't be entertaining at all, the subject matter should be entertaining enough in itself. Once you start to spin it into a song and dance then you're implying there's no merit in the subject matter itself.

Fred Tracy said...

I've had classes with similar subject matter that I've had different teachers with.

When the teacher is boring, I tend to not remember much of it. When the teacher is interesting, I retain a lot more.

I can't speak for everyone, but my brain definitely prefers entertaining teachers. :P

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