October 11, 2019

PoP practices: a request for help

Ben Mardell

When PoP researcher Jen Ryan proposed this blog, I was skeptical. As neither a consumer nor producer of blog content, I was unsure how useful the endeavor would be. Jen’s argument -- that the blog would be a sandbox of sorts where the PoP team could play with ideas -- convinced me. She was right; the blog has been a great way for our team and valued colleagues to test, explore, and share ideas regarding learning through play in schools.

In the spirit of play -- of exploring and taking risks -- I am asking for help. Through our research, we've created a set of core principles, a model of indicators of playful learning for the International School of Billund and one for three schools in South Africa, and an approach for educators to explore a new teacher-research methodology we call Playful Participatory Research. We are now working on a set of key PoP practices -- it is here we're looking for help.

How should we organize our practices in a way that will be most helpful to educators? One option (Option A) is a bit poetic and is more descriptive of the practices; the other (Option B) is perhaps more pragmatic, framing the practices around the kinds of tasks and decisions educators make every day. Whichever version we land on will include, for each practice: 1) a set of concrete strategies, 2) examples of these strategies in action, and 3) tools that will help educators implement these strategies.

So here goes:

Option A:

Enable learners to lead their own learning
Establish conditions to explore ideas together
Engage the imagination
Encourage experimentation and risk-taking
Embrace the range of emotions play involves

Option B:

Design playful learning experiences
Cultivate playful classroom and school cultures
Provide playful assessments
Construct playful places

I realize it might be difficult for you to evaluate Option A and Option B without a sense of these strategies, examples, and tools. Fret not! We’ve created a document that fleshes the two options out in more detail. If you’re game, we’d be happy to send the document to you to look over (should take about 10 minutes to read) in exchange for your feedback.

Though we don’t have comments enabled on this blog, click the Contact tab on the left. We'll field responses and will send out the document to those who ask! Welcome to the sandbox!

Playfully yours,

Ben Mardell