Play and Speech Output


It takes approximately 400 repetitions for our brains to make a new connection, unless it’s done through play, in which case it only takes 10 to 20 repetitions. Not only do children love play, but they learn through play. Children acquire so many skills through play:


Fine motor skills

Speech output

Gross motor skills

Social skills


Emotional regulation


Should we blame our students for the steady decline in the above skills over the course of their schooling? Each year they are in school they go from the bright light-filled creatures of early childhood and kindergarten to the bored, concretized teens that many of us teach. If they aren’t playing, how can they learn those skills?


When do they stop knowing how to play? When do they reach that point of unresponsiveness to our tableaux and stories in secondary school? It happens in sixth grade, in my experience.


And then when they come into our classrooms as middle and high school students and we ask them to be a part of a community that is based in play (CI in its best form), and they can’t do it, why do we blame them?


Here’s a question for you – did you become a language teacher because of your wish to help kids grow up, or because you are good at languages? If it’s the latter, you may want to reconsider what you’re doing in this career. Your choices include leaving the profession, or (better) changing to teach in such a way that kids are included, not excluded, from your class in favor of the few.


[credit: Laurensliteracycorner #TikTok]



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