Thinking outside the book: a point for departure for reflecting on learning

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Play is a serious business, but it is most definitely not just for children. Championed as ?a fundamental and lifelong activity?, James and Brookfield (2014, p.61) make the case for its positive role in education. Yet whilst play in the adult world continues to be most often defined by competition (or a self-conscious rejection of such; yet it continues to lurk), true, serious play, defined by Dewey (1933, p.218) as ?the ideal mental condition?, is a meaningful way to ?[understand] motivation and learning in a holistic way? (Rieber, 2001, p.1). Part of the rise of play?s appeal in education is its emphasis on exploration and experimentation, its outlet for curiosity, its satisfying relationship to intrinsic motivation, and possibly above all, its requirement for active participation (Mann, 1996). Although James and Brookfield (2014) have concentrated their attention in Engaging Imagination on creativity and reflection, there is a clear overlap with all of these precepts. Play, and specifically the attitude of playfulness, is held by James and Brookfield to be at the heart of learning, and together they have produced a thought-provoking and engagingly written volume that aims to give educators the tools and the confidence to introduce a ?multisensory? approach into their classrooms by asking, ?what if we are playful in our approach to learning?? (p.xii).
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Learning Development in Higher Education
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2014


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