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Who says learning can’t be fun? On Tuesday, February 27th, the Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT) hosted a workshop titled “Exploring the Potential of Play in Teaching and Learning.” Led by CELT staff, Dr. Shawna Felkins and Kate Collins, the session introduced participants to “ludic pedagogy,” presenting play as a vital tool to enhance student engagement and transform learning.

The workshop was not just theoretical; it was a hands-on exploration of how play can be integrated into the classroom to foster a more engaging learning environment. The workshop highlighted the significant impact that play has on student outcomes, including enhancing creativity, building classroom community, practicing problem-solving skills, and increasing student participation. 

Participants had the opportunity to experience the educational value of play firsthand. Through a series of interactive activities, educators explored various techniques and tools that could be translated into their disciplinary-specific teaching practices. These activities featured challenges and problem-solving components requiring collaboration and discussion, demonstrating how instructors could incorporate games, role-playing, and other playful methods to provide space for student interest and choice. 

Jill Abney, CELT Associate Director, observed that “what’s really fascinating about this workshop, and the pedagogy behind it, is how quickly it allows the development of community and enthusiasm. Folks showed up quiet and eager to listen. By the end of it, they were cheering and full of energy.”

The workshop wrapped up with a discussion on evidence-based approaches for incorporating play into the curriculum. Attendees discussed the potential challenges and rewards of adopting playful learning strategies. Participants were encouraged to envision how they could apply these concepts to their courses, brainstorming ways to adapt play-based methods to fit their unique disciplinary contexts and teaching objectives. 

By incorporating play into the curriculum, educators can create a dynamic and interactive learning environment that not only engages students but also stokes their curiosity, creativity, and desire to learn. 

We are offering this workshop again on April 30, 2024 from 2-3:30pm. Click here to register.