Piaget was right. We learn best when we are having fun. This was true when we were children and it remains true for us as adults. There is no reason why we as college educators cannot blur the line between work and play in a number of areas.
1. In research. I resolve to daydream of what my next projects might be and to pursue what intrigues and interests me the most. This will no doubt involve stepping outside of my comfort zone and into uncharted territory, perhaps resulting in more hours of work, but with a liberating freshness.
2. In the assignments we create. I believe in the importance of tests and papers; but I know that not all tests and paper assignments are created equal. I have no secret formula for making them fun and I do not suggest that fun equals easy; but I know I must try. I will seek to integrate simulations, mock-trials, dramatic and visually engaging presentations, and online discussions into students’ coursework, for these have the potential to jar them from complacency and draw them into the epic journey of self-discovery that the study of religion and history should be.
3. In the example we set for our students. I know that if I am bored, they are bored; but if I am enthralled with our process of learning together and with the subject matter, I have hope that some of them, at least, may catch what I’ve got. If only I knew more surefire ways of being infectious with enthusiasm, besides simply having it. Perhaps the best way is for me to find ways to play within the work I am already doing.