Is school fun?
Learning certainly can be and the rich array of experiences offered by schools means that fun is always on the menu.
But what sort of fun are children and staff having?
You might think fun is fun but there are different types.
According to the Fun Scale, a quantifiable measurement of exciting activities, there are 3 types of ‘enjoyable’ activities:
Type I Fun
Type I is true fun where you are loving every moment while it’s happening. It is the buzz you get when doing something and remains pleasurable for the majority of the experience. It’s fun now and it’s fun later.
Things like scoring a goal, going down a waterslide, having a great meal or enjoying a brilliant night out.
Type II Fun
Type II is fun only in retrospect but almost hateful while it’s happening. It’s not fun now but fun later.
This is an experience or challenge that can leave you feeling dispirited or all at sea in the moment but once over, the negativity subsides and a glow of achievement takes over. It’s an experience you probably want to do again despite the pain.
This type of fun is where you get out of your comfort zone and you really have to push yourself – you earn the fun by saying at the end of an activity that it ‘was worth it’. In this sense, Type II fun is transformational and leads to personal growth.
Things like working out until you feel like being sick, doing the Three Peaks Challenge in a storm or abseiling.
Type III Fun
This is not fun now and not fun later. This type of experience is probably where you are in a Type II Fun situation but then something goes wrong and could even by life-threatening.
Things like the weather getting so bad you need to be rescued on a climb up Snowdon, you twist your ankle and a hike and you are miles from anywhere or you suffer a cardiac arrest on a bike ride.
In the school environment, there are snippets of fun to be had within lessons of the Type I type and that’s what teachers can create and set up. Students love these.
What students don’t necessarily like are the Type II experiences but these are the ones we should be aiming to manufacture more of. Why? Well, Type I are easy to do but not as impactful as Type II because these are longer-lasting and likely to have better learning gains.
Hopefully, there won’t be many Type III experiences but if they are they tend to be associated with an outdoor activity at a residential, the very environment where you will experience all three types of fun!