Photo © 2008 by ThomasLife [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]
In Peter Gray’s TEDx talk (posted above) he speaks of the decline in play among today’s children. While many people would jump to the conclusion that this is a good thing, seeing as they now have more time to devote to their studies and futures, I would beg to differ. You see, as Gray points out in his talk, play is an extremely important aspect of the biological evolutionary system. Its decline can be mostly attributed to an increased demand for school. Now, I will admit that of course school can be beneficial – but only if it is done right, and not at the cost of something as priceless as childhood play. He argues that the sacrifice of play for more school does not necessarily outweigh the cost, and I completely agree. Personally, I have been lucky enough to enjoy play in elementary school.
However, things began to change in middle school with the implementation of Common Core. I began losing much needed sleep as well as valuable connections to my friends, as we no longer had any time to hang out. All of this yet I saw little to no improvement on the quality of teaching, just larger quantities of more difficult homework, eating into my after-school life. So now I speak to those for school. If you really want to improve students’ learning experience, make school better not longer. For those teachers who wonder why their students have been becoming less and less energetic and more and more introverted in the classroom over the years, look no further than the decrease in their play time. The reason, as some would say, for this is maybe due to the higher ups wanting to create a new generation of easily controllable ‘drones’ who actually believe 14 hour work days are feasible. I am a little less extreme but I also feel that the notion might become reality if nothing is changed.