April 22, 2015
(Photos: Sammy Magnuson/Center for Inspired Teaching)
At the April 2015 LEGO Idea Conference in Billund, Denmark, two short films premiered featuring Center for Inspired Teaching and our work training teachers to infuse serious play into learning experiences for students. On April 20, at Truesdell Education Campus in Washington, DC, one of the featured teachers, 2013 Inspired Teaching Fellow and third grade teacher Mr. Zia Hassan, screened the films with his students.
While watching, students grinned and laughed, pointed at images of themselves on screen, and applauded. The films were the culmination of a process that began in early March when a film crew flew from Denmark to DC to visit Mr. Hassan’s classroom and see Inspired Teaching’s instructional model in action. The crew filmed a lesson in which Mr. Hassan led students through a playful, improvisational acting exercise to help them discover the importance of writing detailed paragraphs, a key literacy objective. The filmmakers then interviewed Mr. Hassan and a few of his students about how learning through play is part of their classroom experience.
After watching the films together, Mr. Hassan asked the class to share their reactions. Students revealed a new understanding of what learning can look like: “You can learn when you’re playing.” “You can learn even when you’re a baby!” Everything in the world can help you get knowledge.” Other students remarked on the global nature of the movement and the importance of engaging even more adults. One said,”It’s important for everyone to experience new things and learn more and more.” Another said, “I felt encouraged because having a video online is a big responsibility and opportunity.”
When Mr. Hassan asked how the film made them feel, students agreed that they were “excited.” A few indicated that they now feel part of a movement towards bringing the kind of learning they love to all students: “The film makes me feel supported,” one said. Another concluded, “We need to make sure that parents and teachers learn to teach this way.”
Inspired by the films – and his students’ reactions – Mr. Hassan said he’s even more committed to continue finding creative ways for his students to master content and practice skills through serious play.
Learn more about Inspired Teaching Fellows like Mr. Hassan and about the teacher training programs that made Inspired Teaching one of the 10 Champions of the international Re-imagine Learning Challenge.