February 04, 2010

Learning through play: Teaching vs. Testing

A recent op-ed about the Obama administration's plans to reform how schools are assessed caught our eye this week. In it, a case is made for getting back to the basics: less standardized curriculum, more open discussion and interaction and, of course, more time for play!

During the school day, there should be extended time for play. Research has shown unequivocally that children learn best when they are interested in the material or activity they are learning. Play — from building contraptions to enacting stories to inventing games — can allow children to satisfy their curiosity about the things that interest them in their own way. It can also help them acquire higher-order thinking skills, like generating testable hypotheses, imagining situations from someone else’s perspective and thinking of alternate solutions.

Read the full letter here: Playing to Learn (The New York Times)

What's your opinion on the current state of education? How much focus would you put on structured versus unstructured learning in schools?

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