The word ‘edutainment’ may be a new coinage but the concept is age-old. As the term suggests, it is learning made fun. Instead of treating education as a bitter pill to be swallowed for the greater good, education should be a potion to be lapped up with great interest and eagerness for all-round development.
Using videos, games, puzzles, quizzes for the purpose of learning are the modern means of edutainment. The term ‘Edutainment’ became a buzz when the American developmental psychologist Howard Gardner propounded the theory of Multiple Intelligences. We realized what is meant by all-round development. It is not just cramming books it means developing various intelligence.
If learning takes place through various enjoyable activities, like reasoning games, vocabulary games, building objects, designing projects, working in pairs and groups, keeping scrapbooks to name a few then Jack will not become a dull boy.
Interestingly stories are the first examples of edutainment. And along with the modern methods, we should not neglect the wholesome ancient recipe involving most intriguing words:
Just how ancient is this mode of teaching? Even before the first letter took shape or the paper was invented knowledge was passed from generation to generation through stories. Much later when the King Mahilaropya wished to educate his sons in statecraft, he approached the worthiest of teachers who regaled those princes on stories that came to be known as Panchatantra stories.
Every country, language has its own treasure trove of stories to which new wealth is being added continually. Stories entertain. stories inspire and strengthen the moral fiber. Stories inform. Stories travel far and wide. Who hasn’t heard of Aesop’s fables and Arabian nights? Stories can give a peek into history and into future. Stories spark imagination and ignite the mind. The power of imagination cannot be exaggerated. All great inventions must have been imagined first. Someone must have imagined that a machine weighing in tons can actually fly. Some genius must have imagined that a machine can simulate human brain long before computers became part of our existence.
A story can enhance multiple intelligences. To begin with, it makes one-word smart. If it is told through an audio-visual medium it makes one picture smart. If it’s presented as skit it adds to kinesthetic intelligence and also makes one people smart. Reflecting and pondering over the story one becomes self-smart.
Are we now beginning to see the truth in the old saying-
‘If you don’t know the tree you’ll be lost in the jungle and if you don’t know the story you’ll be lost in life.’