We speak very often about the need to create novel didactic materials and proposals that allow students to enthuse and make them see that learning can be fun, and in the Forest of Fantasies we work conscientiously to ensure that this is possible. However, this endeavor to create fun teaching materials and techniques should not make us lose our bearings. In other words, it cannot make us forget that learning cannot always be fun, and that working and striving can be hard and require a lot of effort. In fact, learning and working can often be something that frustrates , exhausts, stresses … and not for this reason the end to be achieved stops being less interesting, as it can be at least the same or even more. So why do we send this message, more and more repeated, that learning can be a lot of fun if this is not always possible?




In this article we want to analyze the importance of being aware that sending continuous messages of this type to students can be a mistake, and that the key is to find the mean between the most pleasant and relaxed tactics and the commitment to effort , work and commitment every day.



The search for a balance between work and play

Today there seems to be incessant pressure between groups of teachers and social media groups around the need to design and structure each lesson in an absolutely beautiful and entertaining way, almost as if aesthetics were more important than meeting quality standards. that requires learning . Games, tiles, incredible dynamics that make you have a good time, unicorns, cartoon characters, glitter letters … are just some examples of the way in which the struggle to find new ways of teaching , away from the traditionalist systems of dictating and copying , is slightly distorting the boundaries between what is truly important and what is accessory.

In this sense, we may be confusing a little fun with capacity for commitment and effort, forgetting that sometimes working hard can bring very positive and enriching benefits to our lives, without the journey having been fun at all. This means that by continuously saying things like “learning is fun”, we may be sending the wrong messages to students, making them believe that if they are not amused they are not worth it or that they are doing something wrong. In order not to fall into this, it may be interesting to talk about the benefits of effort and responsibility, which can be as great or more than the benefits of the game, and that therefore both things should be part of our day to day.


Ways to discover a more realistic picture for students

It is not about eliminating techniques, didactics and materials made in order to motivate children in a more fun and close way for them, but about not forgetting that the path of learning is as necessary as it is hard , and that it is very important. face it and do it without fear and with all the responsibility in the world, because behind it there are many benefits for life. Some ways of addressing students with more sincerity may include the following:


  • Work, effort and perseverance in life

Have students have high and reasonable expectations that require hard work and perseverance, but always with a good level of reasoning. Doing hard work “just because” does not make sense either if the whys are not analyzed, and for this reason it is necessary to start little by little and completely gradually (which is why preschool is very important, as it serves to enter that world of responsibilities and progressive learning). Try brainstorming with your students to help explain that hard work is necessary as a critical part of a life process.




  • Confidence and opportunities to practice

When we take children seriously, they take themselves seriously and rise to the occasion. Developing the habit of hard work requires opportunities to practice, and school is certainly one of the best places to do it. If we always make things fun and easy in that process, there will be no real practice.


  • Make a progressive homework assignment

Make sure that your students confront complex tasks progressively , that they learn to focus and strive by being aware of how important it is to do so, and making them approach teaching almost as if it were a challenge. Tell them that it will be difficult, but also tell them that you firmly believe in their worth and in their ability to fight and effort. Teaching children to create age-appropriate goals is a good way to make them understand that in life we must work and fight for what we want, which cannot always be done while playing .


  • Effort doesn’t always pay off

It is important to make students see that just because something requires effort does not mean it can be or is worth it. At this point, it affects the idea that there will be no rewards for putting effort into something, as this is not always true either and will depend on each person. There will always be students who need to work more than others or who even doing the same will not obtain the same results, but the important thing is to learn to tolerate failure and to know how to recover from it without abandoning the desire to improve and improve . The key here is to be realistic and recognize that no matter how much we do, we cannot always achieve what we want or have set out to do, but that trying is always worth it.


  • Try to identify problems and find solutions

It teaches children how to identify a problem and develop solutions, as it is a great way to get them started. When problems materialize, the possibility that the hard work pays off can help children persevere and put forth one hundred percent effort.




  • Responsibility may be more important than fun

When we tell kids things like being responsible is more important than always being fun , we give them tools for real life. People cannot always have fun at work, not even at home or in our spare time, but it is work that guides us to incredible moments in life and offers us the opportunity to make life much better and with many more opportunities. If to realistic expectations we add, from time to time, tools that make the process more fun and enjoyable, we will have found the true balance to successfully navigate the hard and important path of learning.


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