...really good teaching is about not seeing the world the way that everyone else does...

"Good teachers perceive the world in alternative terms, and they push their students to test out these new, potentially enriching perspectives. Sometimes they do so in ways that are, to say the least, peculiar."
Mark Edmundson, "Geek Lessons" NYT, 2008

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Toward an Integrated Theory of Play

by Joe Frost

Beginning with an extensive overview of theories, this paper proposes an integrative perspective on play. Early theories, which were proposed in the last half of the 19th century, included the surplus energy theory, the recapitulation theory, the instinct-practice theory, and the relaxation theory. More recent theories of play include Freud's and Erikson's psychoanalytic theories and Piaget's cognitive development theory. The limitations on these theories include the fact that: (1) They deal only with specific elements or a limited sampling of the broad concerns of play; (2) They involve single or limited variables; and (3) They are tied to the academic roles of their developers. Problems also exist in adequately defining play. The integrated theory of play proposed in this discussion attempts to lend depth and breadth to understanding play and to provide practitioners with a comprehensive, utilitarian, and unified view of the phenomenon. It is proposed that play be examined from at least five interrelated perspectives: characteristics, motives, processes, functions, and content. Each of these dimensions is considered across academic disciplines in terms of theory and the large volume of recent research on play. It is argued that a fully developed theory can provide comprehensive description of the qualities of play and open up creative possibilities for the design and testing of play environments. A bibliography of 100 references is attached.

Details here.

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