Learning can be fun

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It was nice to see kids actually having fun at the Science Rendezvous as they interacted and learned about topics they probably would have found boring if they were just reading about it in a textbook.

It’s not to say that all youth aren’t enjoying the knowledge that they pick up in class. But in a world filled with smartphones, tablets and short attention spans, it can be difficult for a child to stay focused – let alone care – when it comes to their education.

Nearly every taught subject follows a similar guideline: you sit in a class and listen to a teacher. You read a textbook and complete worksheets. There are opportunities to engage in research projects or presentations here and there, which really is the only time students can get creative.

But it’s hard to find academic success when the education system has this approach.

Aaron Hemens is the editor of the Inuvik Drum.
Aaron Hemens is the editor of the Inuvik Drum.

When I look back at my own experience in elementary and high school, I can tell you that my poor grades weren’t a reflection of my poor intellect. Rather, it was a reflection of my interest – or lack thereof.

I’m no exception. I wasn’t the only kid who struggled in school because I had little interest in the content of my education. It wasn’t until I took a media and broadcasting class in my final year of high school that I discovered learning can actually be fun, that maybe I wasn’t as dumb as my grades made me out to be. More importantly, I realized that you can learn and be successful in school without actually having to open a textbook.

If kids are struggling in school, the blame shouldn’t solely fall on them. Perhaps we should take a look at how they’re being taught versus what they’re being taught. People learn differently. For some, the best way to learn about a topic is by reading about it in a textbook. But reading isn’t for everyone. For others, learning is best achieved by actually interacting with the topic.

Learning can be fun for everyone, but it seems we prioritize one process over the other. Whatever your preferred method may be, it’s important to cater to all students and the way they learn best.

This idea of learning through engaging in hands-on activities can change how students feel about school. Offering more opportunities where you utilize this technique can open up a number of different ways that a student can learn and react to a specific topic. As the student explores the various alternatives, they can discover new interests to pursue in the future.

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Aaron Hemens served as the editor of the Inuvik Drum from January to August 2019. He's responsible for reporting on everything Inuvik, from covering community gatherings and sporting events, to writing the weekly columns. He's a dedicated photographer who loves getting to know the town through the community members that he meets. He's originally from Ottawa, Ont., where he graduated from Carleton University's journalism program in 2018. He can be contacted at 867-777-4545 or at inuvikdrum@nnsl.com. You can check out his photos on his Instagram account: @aaron.hemens.

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