Learning For the Joy of It

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Learning something new is exciting. In a Guidepost mixed-age classroom, children discover that with hard work and perseverance, they can excel at any endeavor they undertake.

Joy is an essential ingredient of learning, and educators have long recognized this. However, during the pandemic, it seemed as if joy had vanished as face-to-face learning and many fun activities had to be curtailed or canceled altogether.

1. It’s a way to feed your curiosity

Exploring new cuisines, trying your luck at DIY projects, or discovering what makes someone laugh can all serve to feed your curiosity and further your understanding of what really matters to you – which is why it is vital that lifelong learning continues throughout your lifetime.

Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget understood that curiosity is one of the key ingredients to learning. According to him, students who engage with information solely out of interest tend to retain it longer and research deeper than their counterparts. Therefore, teachers should foster curiosity among students within their classes while offering opportunities for them to pursue individual learning interests outside school as part of a practical educational experience.

While we encourage our students’ curiosity, it’s equally essential that they navigate any obstacles that may come their way. For instance, if they’re learning a skill others have already mastered, remind them that learning takes practice and determination but may require risk-taking and the willingness to make mistakes as part of the process. It is also crucial that we teach our children that education is an ongoing journey that demands dedication and perseverance from them as learners.

Help students recognize that learning can be a form of self-expression. When they feel passionate about a topic, learning provides them an outlet to express themselves individually and bring out their unique viewpoint. This can also serve as an effective way of building empathy while making students aware that everyone has their learning style.

To promote curiosity, students must receive a safe and supportive learning environment, including minimizing distractions and making sure they have all of the resources needed for success. From quiet spaces with learning tools online or an appropriate level of challenge to creating environments conducive to deep thinking – encourage regular breaks with stretching or eating well to maintain energy levels!

2. It’s a way to learn about yourself

Learning for its own sake can be done at any stage in life. A retired physicist learning painting or drumming in his later years may find it harder to apply his newfound talents immediately, yet that doesn’t lessen his enjoyment of the experience. Instead, this provides a chance to try something different without fearing they’ll lose their status as a physicist – something I highly encourage!

Menlo Innovations’ CEO emphasizes that we don’t need to wait until school ends in order to enjoy learning something for fun. Experimentation can help us become better people while potentially improving health and well-being; when learning something difficult, for instance, your brain produces dopamine, which acts like feel-good hormones, helping us overcome difficulties more readily.

Learning for its own sake encourages greater focus and determination, which in turn builds character strengths such as self-discipline and resilience that will serve you well as you progress through life when learning becomes more arduous.

One of the hallmarks of love-based learning is its dedication. While Learning Through Suffering may have its roots in ending suffering, love-based learning engulfs all forms of expression–whether that means music, dance, art, or any other field–in order to promote growth.

Experiences can also serve as a powerful means of social connection, something particularly essential for introverted individuals but beneficial to extroverts as well. Learning is a beautiful way to make friends and form meaningful relationships – something critical to happiness and thriving! The more you learn, the easier it will be for you to connect with other people no matter your age or educational background – which explains why so many people enjoy learning; it provides them with an outlet that brings joy.

3. It’s a way to learn about others

Educators are increasingly finding ways to inject joy into learning experiences. While this strategy has long been advocated and executed, since COVID-19 brought much of global education online and reduced many traditional fun activities such as clubs, sports teams, classroom parties, recess periods musicals, and chorus concerts, educators are becoming more deliberate about finding ways to add fun into classroom sessions.

Renzi de la Torre at Moorestown Friends School in Moorestown, New Jersey, uses a book of children’s jokes that she keeps on her desk to inject humor into student meetings and decorate her classroom so it becomes an inviting environment to foster students’ desire to learn. “Once students know there will be something fun coming their way, it becomes difficult for them to resist learning!” she states.

Joy in learning does not necessarily translate to joy or happiness in its broadest sense, although sometimes that is what happens. Instead, joy comes from feeling seen by teachers or learning something that connects previously-gained knowledge in new ways.

Research by Taina Rantala and Kaarina Maatta shows that when students feel in control of their learning, joy ensues. That is why giving students ownership over their education is so crucial: students can choose which books to read during reading workshops, decide on an essay topic in a writing workshop, or identify specific subtopics during a unit in science, art, math, or social studies in which to become experts.

Students enjoy seeing each other’s work and sharing it. Viewing others’ contributions can spark new ideas, providing a glimpse into different perspectives of how people see the world – be it through painting, essay, or spreadsheet. Sharing one another’s works serves as a reminder that we all have something valuable to contribute and that learning should remain part of a lifelong journey that never ends.

4. It’s a way to learn about the world

Learning is a means of satisfying our natural curiosity about our world while connecting us to people from various backgrounds. Each new learning experience opens our world up more fully; when we find something exciting or fascinating to study, it makes for a joyous journey! Therefore, people must discover their passions – whether that is playing piano, painting, or simply running!

However, limited resources, educational opportunities, and social barriers can stifle joy in learning. In South Africa, for instance, high dropout rates, socioeconomic issues, and teacher-student ratio are just some of the factors preventing happiness from being fostered in classroom settings – leading an increasing number of scholars to advocate for changing how students are taught in order to enable joyousness of learning in students.

Scholars have stressed the importance of personalizing learning experiences to students’ personal and cultural contexts rather than adopting an exclusively teacher-centric approach. Furthermore, Vygotsky’s sociocultural learning theory suggested scaffolding and zones of proximal development for optimal development as crucial ingredients of joyful learning experiences.

Other researchers have stressed the significance of having students work collaboratively or in groups in order to foster enjoyment in learning. Furthermore, non-traditional settings like museums, parks, and libraries are recommended as learning environments where students can interact with one another and have meaningful discussions about topics of importance to them.

Scholars have noted a strong link between happiness and learning and active, self-directed lifelong learners, which makes teachers essential in encouraging this approach to education in their students. It’s vitally important that they model this passion so their pupils will follow suit!

Though the joy of learning may seem difficult to come by, we can all do our part to cultivate it for all learners and contribute towards making society a happier and more rewarding place to live.