Importance of Bringing Joy to the Classroom
“The joy of learning is as indispensable in study as breathing is in running”-Simone Weil
If you asked your students to make a list of words that describe school, do you think joyful would make it to the list? A child's mind and heart are open to learning new things every now and then and yet school somehow becomes a joyless experience for most of them. Children and young adults spend six to seven hours every day in schools for nearly 9 to 10 months in a year. This is that period of their lives where they spend more time with the teachers as compared to their families and what they learn here leaves a lifelong impact on them. So, why not invest in showing what happiness and joy feels like today so the children can create that for themselves and others when they are older?
Joy in classrooms may be defined in different ways. It could be happiness while working with peers, learning something new, finding a purpose, seeing yourself grow or simply enjoying your time. Many readings suggest that joy reduces stress and helps to stay healthy.
Why bring joy to your classroom?
Infusion of joy with learning will help your students to feel less stressed.
It benefits students with a positive learning experience.
It makes children eager and motivated to learn new things since they find them enjoyable.
How can you make joy a part of your classroom learning experience?
Here are some easy ways to bring joy into your classroom:
Make your classrooms appealing: Revamp your classrooms and create a space where students feel welcomed. Colour the walls and fill them up with your students’ artwork, create a corner that has all the things they love and make different learning spaces for different activities. This will get children excited to be in the class and enjoy the different activities planned for them.
Know your students: If you know your students well, you’ll be able to create the right kind of learning experiences for them- the ones that they will enjoy. Students also love to spend informal time with their teachers. Getting to know them through games, activities and just informal chats is a great way to begin to get to know your students.
Bring humour to your class: Many times teachers think that they need to act in a particular way in front of their students so that the students take them seriously. But the key to really building genuine relationships with your students is to be yourself. When you are comfortable in your own skin, you’ll find it easy to add a bit of humour to your lessons. It just makes learning a bit less stressful.
Create a space for celebration: Nothing brings more happiness than a space for celebration. Be a teacher who can see the positive things your students do and appreciate them. Such celebrations bring everyone together and help people to appreciate the goodness in each other and fills everyone up with joy.
Make sure your students have choices: If you give students an opportunity to choose what and how they learn, it will build more enthusiasm in them to learn different things. If your students know they can choose, they know their decisions are appreciated. Isn’t this a simple way to make lessons joyful?
Bring your passion to the class: When you take your passion to your class, you share your love for something with others. Thus, spreading joy. Teachers often stay focused only on their content but if you learn to find some time at the start, middle or end of class to bring in your passion into the class, you’ll see an altogether different happiness in class. A simple example would be to play soft music during work time if that is something you also enjoy.
Make them feel cared for: Nothing makes a learning experience more joyful than to know that you are valued, loved and appreciated for who you are. Something as small as a hand-written note during a student’s tough times can cheer him or her up. So, make sure your students know they are cared for.
These are just a few simple ways to make your lessons joyful. You can always try new techniques and see what works best in your classroom. This will not only increase a child’s interest and involvement in the class but will also make some of your challenging days a little less stressful just like Marva Collins quotes “when someone is taught the joy of learning, it becomes a lifelong process that creates a logical individual. That is the challenge and joy of teaching.”