It’s about time we made learning enjoyable

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Time: November 01, 2018 

I have a dream. If you read this and think that I will be writing about Martin Luther King Jr., then I am sad to say that this is not my intention in this article. I admit I loved King’s speech back in 1963 in a Washington civil rights march, and the inspiration and motivation that came out of it. Choosing the same theme for this article is merely expressing one of our basic human characteristics; no matter how close or extremely different our cultures are, no matter what religion we follow, and no matter the color of our skin, we all dream.

Usually dreams are personal, but in this article I will share with you one of my dreams, which is very close to my heart. I was blessed when I came back to work in my home country, Saudi Arabia, that I got a chance to visit many Saudi universities, either public or private. I met students firsthand and asked them what they are missing from their education? What do they want to see change in their educational system? What can my professor colleagues and I do to help in their educational journey? From analyzing the answers, I could conclude that the majority wanted to make education fun and enjoyable. Unsurprisingly, I also heard this same point from students around the world, not only in Saudi Arabia. This is a global issue that students are seeking, but unfortunately the majority are not getting.

I was blessed when I came back to work in my home country, Saudi Arabia, that I got a chance to visit many Saudi universities, either public or private.

Dr. Taghreed Al-Saraj

Now you could argue that education and fun don’t quite blend together, unless it is in a non-formal setting. If that is the case, then I am afraid to say: Why not? We have lots of formal research that tells us learning in a non-formal (non-traditional) setting allows for greater retention and greater achievement. This is also true for language learning. Learning a new language in a non-formal setting, especially among friends, is the best and most fun way of learning and practicing the new language.

Having said that, why can’t we make education informal? Better yet, why can’t we teach our students, while we are at it, the soft skills that they will

This article was first published in Arab News

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