Have Fun

And most important of all: HAVE FUN, and make sure your students are having fun too. When people are having fun, they are likely to be curious, creative, eager, and fearless... like these kittens. [next]

Additional comments:

With that caveat about best practices in mind, if pressed I would nominate "fun" as a best practice for me in my teaching. As you can tell from the previous slides, by "fun," I don't mean the passive satisfaction that comes from watching a video (i.e. edutainment), but instead the fun that comes from making discoveries, expressing yourself creatively, and connecting with other people. Discovery, creation, and connecting are at the heart of education in my opinion, and "fun" is, for me, a shorthand way to capture that whole process in a single word.

Online classes seem to me especially capable of promoting a sense of fun because of the balance you can strike in an online course between the individual and social elements that are part of having fun. There are some things that are fun to do on your own, and some things that are fun to do with others. In an online class, you have the opportunity to encourage people to have fun on their own in their own ways, while you can also create a social space in which people can have fun together.

I would contrast this notion of fun in education with a word that seems to me diametrically opposed to fun: rigor. As I see it, fun expresses that intersection of discovery, creation, and connecting, while rigor is about standardization, compliance, and being judged. Perhaps people who find the idea of rigor to be a more positive and useful concept can respond in the comments section here! Me: I think I'm allergic to rigor ... and seriously inclined to have fun.

The image above is one of my (many) Shakespearean LOLCats: Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth! This one is from Midsummer Night's Dream, and if all goes well this summer, I hope to find time to do Hamlet cats; last summer, I did Macbeth.... just for fun!

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