Why learning through play is beneficial at all ages

Teachers' Voices Episode 7

Join educational researcher Nina Alonso for this podcast series as she shares powerful stories from teachers around the world, talking in their own words about their own experiences. 

Play is essential for learning and development. Typically, we associate play-based learning with young children, but, says Bo Stjerne Thomsen – an international expert on play, learning and creativity – play is beneficial for all ages.

“Play is inherently about engagement, about motivation to engage in things that are difficult, through different types of play, but there are these mindsets, these states of mind we are in and can be used all across activities and ages.”

Nina is also joined on this episode by three incredible educators from around the world, who share their fascinating stories of how play allows them to develop meaningful and engaging teaching practices in their particular educational contexts.

Houdeja, a teacher of English working in a remote and low-resource secondary school in Tunisia, describes the games she finds beneficial for her teaching:

“One helpful game is I-spy with my little eye. I pick a colour and they have to touch things in our class saying this and that so at the same time they are touching, talking and looking at things and simultaneously translating colours.”

Next we hear from Raquel, a teacher working in the UK with autistic children, about how play-based learning is particularly pertinent for children with special needs:

“One of the most rewarding things about this experience is that my child learned how to speak and how to use her words to ask for things. And she then stopped crying a lot and shouting because she knew how to communicate her needs.”

Finally we hear from Lê in Vietnam, about what she’s found to be the benefits of learning through play:

“You learn many things like problem solving skills, the knowledge from the lesson as well, and more importantly, when they play together they know how to play with others through conflict, try to solve the conflicts, sharing, and how to compromise.”

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