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Relevance of play in formative learning

By G. Balasubramanian

Play has a particularly important and significant role in the formative classrooms. It is an integral part of the learning input and has never to be considered external to a learning situation. Teachers need to be adequately trained to adopt play as a pedagogy in transaction of curriculum and in clarifying concepts to ensure effective understanding.

Play as a pedagogical strategy can help in improving cognition, optimal emotional responses, accepting credible and valid feedback for improvement of performance. At the formative stage it is wonderful tool to enhance the quality and effectivity of relationships.

Play as a strategic pedagogical intervention will help in effective cognition, cognitive consolidation, cognitive response to non-curricular domains and in expanding the horizon of knowledge from known spaces to unknown spaces. It eliminates fear for learning, adventurism in learning, compulsive learning, forced learning and threatened learning.

What are the advantages of play-way method in formative classrooms?

  • It facilitates stress-free learning.
  • It helps in informal learning.
  • It provides opportunities for peer learning.It helps in collaborative exercises for learning.’
  • It triggers curiosity.
  • It is engaging and experiential.
  • It helps in self-learning and self-directed learning.
  • It helps to build self-image and confidence profile.

How could teachers adopt play for effective formative learning?

  • Teachers could provide play to have fun-filled environment to enhance the comfort levels of the learners.
  • They can organize play to build a positive mindset among the learners.
  • Play can be used to prepare a team spirit and to accept thmembers of the team as they are.
  • Play can be used to accept failures and to trigger better effort towards goal-directed behaviors.
  • Play can be used to develop logical thinking, critical thinking, problem solving alongside spatial/visual competencies.
  • Play can be used to organize coordinated kinesthetic mobilities with bodily consciousness
  • Play can be used to improve several sensory responses and to improve coordination between sensory organs.
  • Play can be used to interpret value consciousness and respect inter-personnel relationships.
  • Play can be used for testing boundaries and move towards open vistas of knowledge as an exercise towards learning to learn.
  • Play can be used to improve reflection of performance and self-assessments for improvement.

Play could help in improving and consolidating integrated sensory coordination and responses. E.g. Eye-eye coordination, eye-ear coordination, eye-hand coordination, eye-ear coordination and the like.

The most critical part of the play way method is personal involvement of the teacher or the parent so that there is a free intercourse of emotions, feelings and dialogues so that learning environment is liberated and offers a conducive environment and opportunity for joyful learning

Parents also have a significant role in empowering the learning profile of their children before they enter into the formal schools. The NEP has said this in no uncertain terms. “Preparing the child” to go to the school by providing a conducive learning environment at home is an important indicator in the NEP.

Play helps in ensuring the following in the learner:

Cognitive competencies

Emotional competencies

Kinesthetic competencies

Listening competencies

Communicative skills

Inter-personal skills

Intra-personal skills

Organized behaviour

Discipline and self-regulation

Respect for law and rules/regulations

Planning and readiness

Transformational exercises must be carried out to make the teachers and parents understand the emerging approaches to implement the curriculum more meaningfully.

Schools would do well to revisit their idea and concept of play in schools beyond the routine games or as an exercise that is instrumental to fun and enjoyment. The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct” says Carl Jung.