Over the seven years I've been teaching English in traditional classrooms, I have often felt restricted and limited by the approaches I could take to deliver materials. I was limited by my own understanding of what learning was and how it was conducted. In attempting to make education more enjoyable for my students, I would incorporate creativity, but students kept focusing on the assessments and not allowing themselves to be lost in the fun and creativity.
Traditional schools teach through a hierarchical and individual system of learning. “Hierarchical” refers to how information is transmitted from the teacher to the students: The teacher is at the top of the classroom, and the students are at the bottom. The “individual” refers to how the students view their own stance in the school; they are focused on their own goals and grades. This method has students worry and stress about their scores and less about applying the knowledge to practical situations.
Throughout this first year of facilitating classes with Press Start Academy, I have been able to conduct learning using practices that are distributive and collective. Students engage through creativity and play, learning the materials through natural conversation and experimentation. The focus is on developing practical future skills with everyone working together to achieve the end goal, thus driving up self-motivation and creating a less stressful environment.
I have been able to teach the same materials at the same standard while witnessing students have a deeper understanding and more fun. Altering my teaching methodology to be more creative and collaborative has been an informative challenge, which has shown how learning can be distributed, hierarchical, individual, and collective. Students learn best when interested and self-motivated, therefore teachers ought to help them do exactly that. Focusing on skills and creativity in addition to teaching the required materials is one way of helping learners want to learn.