Sunday, August 14, 2005

enjoying discomfort

Here are a variety of sometimes contradictory sayings:
"have fun while you learn" (a poster which I designed to promote game maker)
"play is OK"
"no gain without pain"
"to understand is to invent" (Piaget)
"back to basics"
"design and struggle" (Garth Boomer)
"dressing up the dog" (critique of easy fun)
"hard fun" (Papert)
"instrinsic motivation"
"extrinsic motivation"
"every time we teach a child something we keep it from inventing it himself" (Piaget)
"objects to think with" (Papert)
"enjoying discomfort" (Minsky)
I'm thinking that sayings that stress fun are not quite right, that my poster is phoney.

And that the ones that use words like struggle, hard, discomfort, pain are quite important.

I've recently been struggling with a programming problem - to do with making a series of segmented snake bodies follow the snake head - which has caused me much pain and real feelings of doubting my capabilities. I have screamed at my computer and called myself stupid.

But I have learnt a lot about: the concept of representing following, programming techniques, my own resilience and limits to what can be achieved at school.

Not a great of this happens in school perhaps because of large class sizes and the necessity of teacher spreading him/herself too thin in the impossible juggling act of keeping everybody happy - that fun word again.

But isn't it an important component, or absolutely essential component, of what education ought to be about?

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