My friend recently posted this article on Facebook. The author, Elizabeth Spiers, discusses the values of play, experimentation, and the act of creating things without worrying about the outcome. Spiers also discusses George W. Bush’s paintings. Who knew?!
Reading the article made me think of a class I taught last week at Metropolitan State University of Denver with pre-service, general education elementary teachers. The focus of the class was on imagination, creativity and play. We explored the questions, “What do we learn during play and how does what we learn connect to imagination and creativity…as well as teaching and learning?” Big questions that we only began to explore during this one hour and forty minutes.
To begin the discussion, I invited students to turn to their neighbors and reminisce about the good old days. What games did they play when they were young? How did they spend their free time? The room immediately began to buzz with laughter and stories (which is saying a lot as this was 8am on a Friday). I then asked them to change the lens of the conversation and discuss the question, “What did you learn while playing these games?” There was a pause, some confused looks, and then the room began to buzz again.
After a few minutes, I asked everyone to shout out what they learned while I recorded their answers for all to see on the whiteboard.
We then looked at my messy handwriting and all of the words associated with play. We noticed that what they learned while playing as 4 and 5 year olds are skills they need and use in the adult world everyday. As one student keenly put it, they are all life skills. Being married to a management consultant, I also noticed they are skills that could be the focus of any leadership or change-management seminar–skills such as: collaboration, communication, taking calculated risks, strategy, empathy, etc.
Pictures of this brainstorm are below. I invite you to look through the words. What do YOU SEE? What do the words make you THINK about? What do you WONDER or want to know more about? Please leave a comment below, playful, in process, or otherwise. -Sara
This thinking routine, SEE, THINK, WONDER, is from the Artful Thinking program out of Harvard’s Project Zero. Artful Thinking is an integral part of my thinking, courses and workshops.