5 Reasons Why Edutainment Classes Suck
‘Edutainment’ is a dirty word.
Edutainment (education + entertainment) in the teaching world happens when a teacher can’t be bothered to deliver a good lesson and instead plays games that barely meet the educational criteria. Entertaining, but ultimately worthless.
Is edutainment that bad? Yes. Here’s why:
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1. It’s Lazy
There’s no objective justification for it. Plan a proper lesson with your students at the centre. It’s your job, so if you don’t like it, get a new career.
2. It’s Theft
When you get right down to it, it’s stealing time from your students. Time has a defined hourly value that they or their parents have paid for.
3. Loss of Respect from Students
It might seem that your students love your classes more the more games you play with them, but it’s an illusion. They know what a good class is, they know that they’re wasting time, and they now know that you’re an ineffective teacher.
4. Loss of Self-Respect
You know you’re taking the easy way out, right? A class with nothing but ineffectual games cobbled together at the last minute. You can do better. You can give the students substance, a well-thought-out plan that addresses their needs as language learners. You’ll also feel great about seeing them achieve their objectives.
5. It Hurts Learners’ Intrinsic Motivation
There’s no substance, so students demand even more entertainment in the next lesson. Compare it to eating habits — if kids are allowed to eat sugary sweets between meals, they’ll stop eating and appreciating healthy, well-balanced food. The same with learning — the ‘filler’ activities distract from valuable activities, and learners will no longer have the discipline to concentrate on the more challenging learning activities.
I’m not saying that there’s no place for fun activities. I’m also not saying that if you give one ‘cheat’ class as a reward or end-of-term fun, you’ll be immediately condemned to the fiery pits of TEFL hell.
What I am saying is that I’ve seen too many people try to coast along with the minimum amount of effort required, to the detriment of the students and themselves. It’s such a shame — TEFL can be so rewarding. I guess the old cliché is true, you do get out what you put in.
See you again in two weeks.
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