Playful Teaching Creates Happy, Successful Students

…and relaxed, confident teachers!

“Come on, we learnt this last week!”

“I’ve told you a thousand times.”

You can hear the exasperation and desperation as they wonder why something just won’t stick. Maybe they’re lucky and it sticks with most children, so what’s wrong with THIS one?

Maybe, just maybe, there’s nothing wrong with THIS child. Maybe it’s the way we teach.

We are the adults, transmitting our skills and knowledge. Our children are the receivers, ready and waiting to be filled with that knowledge. Right?

WRONG! Much as we love Aristotle, the idea that students are empty vessels isn’t so well loved anymore.

Our children are curious, adventurous, experimental and playful. Instead of telling them what we want them to know, and expecting them to retain it, we need to curate a playful adventure where they experience and discover.

THAT’S how we get our skills and knowledge across to our children effectively and in the best way FOR THEM?

What does that look like in my lessons?


(By the way, I don’t mean a music theory version of snakes and ladders or snap. And I don’t mean an app on my iPad.)

The games I use in my classes involve moving around the room, jumping, reaching, stretching, dancing and creating.

Every jump, reach, stretch or dance has at least one deliberate and defined objective. That objective can be to prepare or practise a musical element. It can be to encourage the repetition of the song or rhyme to securely embed it into the children’s aural memory. Maybe we’ve spent a few minutes concentrating really hard and we need to shake it all off to reset for the next task. Usually the games are multi-purpose and can vary week on week to become more complex.

Whatever the objective, the children are involved, both as participants AND influencers. And best of all, they’re having SO MUCH FUN!

Plus it’s good for you too. I challenge you to spend your day playing these fun and active games – see if it reduces your stress levels. It certainly did for me!

Good-bye despair and exasperation. Hello relaxation, confidence and PROGRESS!

Do you have a child who doesn’t catch a concept or skill as quickly as others? Teach though play. They won’t want to hear the same lecture from their teacher every week, but they will want to play the game!

Helen Russell (Founder of Doremi Connect) – 19th April 2021

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