The Day Play Became A Problem Essay

The Day Play Became A Problem Essay

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The Day Play Became a Problem
A fifth-grade classroom in a Coastal Carolina town was tasked with preparing for a science investigation. The room hosted six clusters of six desks, with various supplies sprawled out along the top of the desks including rods, wheels, blocks, and plywood. In addition to the supplies on the desks, students were given packets that featured an experiment guide, guiding question sheet, and paper for construction diagrams.
“All right, everyone,” says their teacher. “Before working with the materials on your desk, I want you to fill out the first section of your experiment guide, questions two and three on your guided question sheet, and draw a diagram of what you expect to build with the materials on your desks.”
The students began to record questions, but moments later, students from each group began to play with the materials on the table. The teacher gave a warning call, instructing students to return the materials to the center of their table and not to touch them until the paper is complete.
Select students had the materials in hand yet again, less than a minute later. This prompted to teacher to make a class announcement that clearly outlined her philosophy regarding the role of play in the classroom.
“Stop playing around!” She said. “You can’t play with the materials on the table. There is no time for play in this classroom.”
I was shocked to watch as this teacher, one who is deemed by her peers as inventive and student-centered, clearly dictated her negative view towards “play” in the classroom.
What About Play?
Play is thought of as staple in many lower-elementary school classrooms, with specific time being dedicated to instrumental and recreational play. In the upper-e...

... middle of paper ...

...finds the genre or type of play that belongs in the classroom, typically what has been deemed as instrumental play and messing around with new media, they can ensure that their students are given ample opportunities to play for their own sake as a learner.
Play is a natural part of student-centered teaching. Giving students the power to guide their own educational endeavors and work with others is how a passion for learning grows. It is up to the individual instructor to decide how play will manifest itself in their own classroom, and create a positive pathway for play. Play does not stop at a certain age, but comes from different areas and activities during various stages in life. By allowing children to play in the upper-elementary classrooms, teachers can be sure that they are giving students the opportunity to flourish in current and future learning settings.

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