BREAKING NEWS: Good, fun not always synonyms.

People like bad movies. It’s true. I do as well. I love Starship Troopers, but its a terrible film. It’s cheesy, the acting is bad, the dialogue is poor in places and frankly its totally ridiculous.

It’s also incredibly enjoyable (for me). Another recent example is Pacific Rim. It’s a ridiculous premise, the storyline is outrageous and the characters are, well, somewhat one dimensional. I’d watch it again in a heartbeat because it was a thoroughly joyful 131mins.

There are also films that are critically acclaimed, by many measures among the best, that I really don’t enjoy. As an example; Amelie.

Unfortunately I consistently find that many people couple ‘good’ and ‘enjoyable’ in their heads. If I say a movie wasn’t good, people assume I’m tell them it’s unenjoyable, or that they shouldn’t be allowed to enjoy it, or that somehow I’m criticizing them personally.

The converse is also true. I don’t like opera. I don’t enjoy it. It doesn’t mean that somehow the talent of operatic singers or composers is diminished or that they haven’t achieved something good. It just means I didn’t enjoy it.


So what does this have to do with teaching!?


Well, I have a student teacher in one of my classes and she was beating herself up that the students didn’t all enjoy the lesson. She was worried her lesson wasn’t good because of this. My argument: the students learned, they worked hard on something challenging. Your job is to help them learn, not entertain them. If they enjoy it, then bonus. But if they enjoy the lesson but don’t learn anything? Well you might have well put a DVD on for 70mins.




It’s incredibly frustrating that teacher training, INSET, lesson observations are pushing the ‘fun’, when frankly, I feel like it’s a terrible measure of whether a lesson is good.


This entry was posted in Classroom, Not Maths, Pedagogy. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to BREAKING NEWS: Good, fun not always synonyms.

  1. Kathryn Freed says:

    Thank you for this post. I often feel this way, but couldn’t find a tactful way of saying it like you did. It’s especially awesome that your student teacher gets too work with someone with such great advice!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s