The old proverb, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” has some truth in it, especially for students at all levels. Studying hard and never having any fun may lead to high grades and accolades, but it may also lead to burnout, boredom, and loneliness.
Having fun by playing is good for our brains. Unfortunately, we grow up surrounded by the idea that being smart means being serious, and being serious means not having much fun. The idea that play is immature and frivolous is drilled into us so deeply that some of us even become embarrassed by the very thought of playing and shy away when the opportunity to play presents itself.
In reality, however, “Creativity is intelligence having fun,” as Einstein said.In other words, playing is a way of being smart. Studies have demonstrated that creative people tend to be of above-average intelligence. Studies have also demonstrated that intelligent children tend to play more.
Good brains like to play, and playing is good for brains.
Play is intellectually rewarding and promotes happiness. To excel in online grade 12 courses as best they can, then, students should not dismiss but rather honour and cultivate their instinct to play.
What Does Play Mean?
While there is no definition of play that psychologists unanimously agree with, they tend to agree that play among children and adults can be intrinsically motivated, personally directed, and simultaneously not serious and intellectually absorbing. Some psychologists also agree that play proceeds, as the Dutch historian John Huizinga put it, “within its own proper boundaries of time and space according to fixed rules and in an orderly manner.”
Huizinga believed that we have an instinct for play and that play is a central element in not only art, poetry, and philosophy, but also in science, war, and law.
Forms of Play
Children play games and sports, but playing comes in other forms and is found at all levels. Creating something—like, say, a song—is another form of play. So too is making jokes.
Forms of play include:
- Making art (poetry, painting, literature, film, etc.)
Playing video games is also technically a form of play, and though some video games may be good for your brain, other forms of play may be better.
For secondary students and adults, playing can help them practice learned optimism, which is the idea that a talent for joy can be cultivated. Learned optimism helps manage fear and anxieties and tune out the inner critic.
High School Students Should Play
High achieving secondary students tend to work a lot, but it’s important that they set aside time to have fun as well. It’s good for their health and overall well-being, and it will help them do even better in school.
Plus, when they have fun, students are less likely to succumb to boredom, burnout, or other negative symptoms of working too much.
Lots of work and lots of play, in other words, may make Jack a valedictorian.
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