What’s It All About? Terrific Teacher Resources!
Top Banana Teachers epitomises the concept that teaching and learning should be fun. Quality teacher resources save preparation and planning time, engage learners and let teachers focus on the important stuff – the progress their children are making.
The Mission Statement
Our mission is to empower teachers to be more creative in the classroom and, as a result, instil in pupils the joy of learning.
Why? Well, when learning is enjoyable it improves motivation, effects memory and retention for starters.
Is there any evidence to back up this notion that learning can and should be fun, or is fun really the work of the devil, thus rendering worthless any enjoyable classroom activity?
Brain research suggests that fun is not just beneficial to learning but, according to many reports, required for authentic learning and long-term memory.
Neurologist and educator, Judy Willis, in her book “Research-Based Strategies to Ignite Student Learning: Insights from a Neurologist and Classroom Teacher” (ASCD, 2006) highlights the learning benefits of fun.
“The truth is that when the joy and comfort are scrubbed from the classroom and replaced with homogeneity, and when spontaneity is replaced with conformity, students’ brains are distanced from effective information processing and long-term memory storage.”
“The highest-level executive thinking, making of connections, and “aha” moments are more likely to occur in an atmosphere of “exuberant discovery,” where students of all ages retain that kindergarten enthusiasm of embracing each day with the joy of learning.”
“Optimal brain activation occurs when subjects are in positive emotional states or when the material holds personal meaning, connects to their interests, is presented with elements of novelty, or evokes wonder. This is why attentiveness is so closely linked to positive emotional cueing and personal meaning. When there is connection to prior knowledge or positive emotional experience, new information passage through the limbic system will be enhanced. The thalamus will then “decide” to pay attention to the information.”
Fun Police in the Education World
The belief remains strong that learning can only take place when pupils are quiet and working slavishly; that any activities where engaged children seem to be enjoying themselves must be vacuous or superfluous; that teachers who make learning fun run the risk of being declared frivolous and unprofessional.
But we’re not talking about teachers in clown suits with red noses here!
We need to think about “fun” not as a separate ingredient that we add as needed to spice up the classroom, but rather as an approach to learning that can turn the most important ideas into an enjoyable experience.
So, if fun actually leads to engagement, meaning and purpose, and, ultimately, learning, what are the implications for education? Should we design lessons and teacher resources based only around what is deemed enjoyable by today’s younger generation?
No, but we should look more closely at the process of how lessons are taught.
This is what we’ve done with Top Banana teacher resources and made our lessons the embodiment of fun.
Top Banana Teachers means engagement, learning that has meaning and purpose, is about making connections and it means being challenged. Embracing this belief should have a profound effect on what and how we teach.