How To Bring the Joy Back Into Learning


Rantala and Määttä’s recipe for joy includes support for collaboration, respect for effortful struggle, and promotion of autonomy. Here are their ingredients, in addition to what the literature says:

1. Remove all labels.

labelling “joy” automatically takes some of the joy out of learning.

2. Savour successes and make peace with failures.

“A teacher should favour such teaching methods that enable the achievement of little intervening goals as a part of a greater learning process

3. Provide opportunities for play.

Thinking and action merge during play, and by means of play, a student takes over in terms of handling their social, cognitive and physical environment

4. Create an environment of freedom.

Free play is relevant to a student and can be considered free, typical and valued activity without any demands from adults or attempts to subordinate it as an instrument. A free student is inquisitive and creative.”

5. Don’t rush it.

“As the joy of learning is often connected with finishing a task or solving a problem, hurry does nothing to enhance the achievement of these goals. The activity itself can act as a significant source of pleasure and joy.”

6. Aim for “flow.”

“The balance between a learner’s abilities and the task is crucial to the joy of learning. A learner has to consider the task meaningful to him/herself because true commitment to the task does not occur without considering the task valuable. One also has to feel able to manage the task.

7. Remember curiosity is natural

8. Share it to spread it.

“The company of other students and friends and a teacher’s genuine interest are premises for experiencing the joy of learning.”

9. Avoid prolonged speeches.

“A student should be at the centre of the learning situation.

10. Match task to abilities

11. Appreciate context.

The joy of learning appears differently in every learning environment. There are many ways to establish an educational setting that enables students to experience the joy of learning… the most important thing is for every teacher to consider the joy of learning or lack of it and to think of ways to provide his/her own group with opportunities to experience joy.”

12. Consider the situation before you blame yourself

13. Don’t be afraid of not knowing

14. Cultivate wonder


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