Maybe we have convinced you that pleasure should have a place of honor in your classroom. And maybe you are unsure about where to begin. As Dr. Seuss’s Cat in the Hat sagely observed, “It is fun to have fun but you have to know how.” The good news is that you are probably already using a lot of pleasurable activities in your teaching without knowing it….but your students do. So ask them.
As the pleasureteam began this project, we surveyed our own students about the six types of pleasure that we included in our New Horizons presentation. Our surveys were varied by discipline, but we each offered a trivial amount of extra credit for completion of anonymous submissions. We were surprised by the quality of the responses and by the students’ observations. Students mentioned things that we had completely forgotten and, sadly, often didn’t mention our most dazzling techniques.
An example: On the first day of class, as students are entering the room, I play “Jock Rock” from my iPod nano using an inexpensive speaker. I blast a similar playlist as I am setting up practical displays for their anatomy exams (mostly to keep myself moving so that I can complete the task), and I leave the music playing as the class enters after I unlock the door. Many students mentioned that the tunes gave them a more confident and relaxed attitude. I had suspected that they found this incredibly corny.
Students cited pleasurable items in all of the six categories and were often quite specific about how those techniques had helped them to master material. We would wager that your students can tell you what you are already doing right if you just ask them. —-Karen