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Making Learning Fun

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Learning is a journey that has the power to shape minds, open doors, and unlock endless possibilities. However, for many students, learning can be monotonous and tiresome and on occasion a roadblock to their success and enjoyment.

Fortunately, there is a growing understanding of the immense benefits that come with making learning fun. By infusing joy, excitement, and playfulness into the classroom and educational experience, we can revolutionise the way students engage with knowledge and ignite their passion for learning.

In this blog, we will explore the transformative power of making learning fun and delve into the numerous benefits it brings to students of all ages. From enhanced engagement and motivation to improved long-term memory retention, we will uncover the science and research behind the positive effects of enjoyable learning experiences.

Is your child struggling to keep up with schoolwork? Are they falling behind? Are they bored in class? Or are you looking for extension work for your child? Check out our eBook to learn more about how we help your child improve academically and build confidence through our in-centre after-school tuition.

How the Brain Works

One of the great advances in the field of neurology in recent years has of course been the development of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which allows us to see the brain in action. 

The amygdala, located deep inside the brain in the hippocampus, is like an extraordinarily sensitive filter or switching station. It either turns information towards the lower reactive brain where we have our ‘fight, flight or freeze’ responses or it allows that information into the higher levels of the brain – the prefrontal cortex.

It is only here, in this prefrontal cortex, that information and ideas can be processed – mentally manipulated and/or moved forward into the highest cognitive and emotional control centre. This area is referred to as the play area of the brain.

The amygdala routes information based on our emotional state. If children are feeling anxious, fearful, or even bored about an experience, the amygdala uses up the brain’s available nutrients and oxygen, to move into a fight, flight or freeze reaction.

If, however, the brain is convinced that an experience is pleasurable, the amygdala releases a little drop of dopamine that tells the whole brain system that life is meaningful. This information is released into the prefrontal cortex.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter – it’s the feel-good one. So how does dopamine affect learning? When new information is coming into the brain, messages about this new info travel from neuron to neuron as a small electrical current.

Chemical neurotransmitters (like dopamine) carry the message across the synapse. When an experience is pleasurable, the amygdala releases extra dopamine to make learning fun. 

Having a burst of dopamine during a learning session is like hitting the SAVE button in a Word document. When dopamine is present during a learning experience, we remember that information. If there is no dopamine present to make learning fun, the information just isn’t going to stick.

How to Learn with Fun

Integrating fun into the learning process brings forth a myriad of benefits for children. First and foremost, fun enhances children's engagement and motivation. When students find the learning experience enjoyable, they become more actively involved and eager to participate.

The element of fun captures students' interests and their attention, making them more receptive to new ideas and information and more willing to invest their time and effort into the learning process. As a result, they are more likely to develop skills, a genuine interest in the subject matter and maintain a positive and healthy attitude towards learning.

Furthermore, fun in learning has a significant impact on long-term memory retention. When children are actively engaged in enjoyable activities, such as games, simulations, or hands-on projects, their brains release dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward.

This release of dopamine enhances memory consolidation, making the information more likely to be retained and retrieved later on. Enjoyable learning experiences create positive emotional associations with the learning material, allowing children to form strong and lasting memories. By making learning fun, educators can promote a deeper understanding of new topics and subjects and encourage long-term retention of knowledge and skills.

Hands-on Learning Activities

Learning is an adventure that becomes even more powerful when accompanied by an element of fun. The evidence from medical and educational researchers overwhelmingly supports the idea that fun is not just beneficial, but essential for authentic learning and long-term memory retention. For instance, a Washington Post article highlighted that brain research suggests that fun is not just a key ingredient in learning but may be necessary for it.

Furthermore, neurologist and educator Judy Willis explained that laughter triggers the release of endorphins, epinephrine (adrenaline), and dopamine, while also increasing oxygen intake, all of which positively impact the brain's receptivity to learning. 

When children actively participate in hands-on activities and have fun while learning, they engage more deeply. This is why it is crucial to ensure that learning experiences beyond the school environment, such as after-school tuition, are enjoyable.

Making learning enjoyable

By making learning enjoyable, we create and encourage an atmosphere of genuine learning that allows children to flourish. Parents can contribute to this by focusing on the aspects of learning that make it fun.

Moreover, when it comes to extracurricular learning experiences like after-school tuition, ensuring enjoyment becomes even more critical. Prioritising an enjoyable learning environment at NumberWorks’nWords is a top priority for us. We create an experience where children do not view our tuition as a burdensome task.

Parents and teachers should focus on making learning fun for their children, highlighting the exciting aspects of the process rather than dwelling on areas that require improvement. By integrating fun into these learning experiences, we create a positive and healthy classroom atmosphere that fosters genuine learning, boosts teacher engagement, and unlocks each child's potential for academic growth.

How NumberWorks'nWords can help

NumberWorks’nWords knows the significance of blending lesson effectiveness with enjoyment. Children are rewarded by playing learning games during their lesson sessions, and their continual progress adds to the quality of the lesson and their enjoyment.

Our tutors are skilled at maintaining positive interactions with each student, building their confidence, and creating a fun and creative learning environment. This approach has proven successful, with children expressing their love for coming to NumberWorks’nWords, and their accelerated progress in school speaks for itself.

To get started with NumberWorks'nWords, contact your local centre or book a free assessment today

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