“Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning.” -Diane Ackerman, author.
Many years ago I was in the early stages of a job as the Education Services Manager of a software company in Australia. I knew quite a lot about learning and training, not very much about software. My boss figured that provided I could teach, I could learn the stuff I had to teach (he was either very astute or blissfully confident).
Soon after joining the company, it became necessary for me to grasp and master a basic software package we had just begun to import from the U.S. Database, word processor, spreadsheets, graphics, and so on. So I secluded myself in my office, and began what I assumed would be a systematic and time-consuming session of serious study. About 30 minutes later I heard my boss and the marketing manager laughing uproariously. I wondered into the main office and found them glued to a computer monitor. They were gleefully using the graphics package to draw the male and female parts of the human anatomy!
They were neither sensitive nor politically correct. It was typical of a certain male oriented approach to getting things done in Australia at the time. They were already familiar with the basic structure of products such as these. And it also revealed something extraordinarily useful about learning.
It’s the power of play.
Play is critical to the way that young children pick up their culture in every corner of the world. Play can be sheer light-hearted fun, and it can be intensely focused and “serious.” After all, pretending to be an adult – a hero, a villain, a key player in the culture, a sporting superstar, a celebrity – can be serious work. But play is everywhere. And interestingly enough, experts also play. So what is it that young children and many experts have in common, from which we can all benefit?
About Our Guest Blogger
Geoffrey Caine is the Executive Director of Caine Learning and the author of the new “Listening to Life” series as well as many books on education. He has conducted numerous courses and workshops on learning, listening, leadership, and learning communities. For more about Geoffrey visit his web-site: cainelearning.com.