Fun in theory and practice: New teachers, pupil opinion and classroom environments
Fun as an educational concept is widely misunderstood, largely because little effort has been expended in trying to understand what it means and whether it can be a useful tool for teachers. There have been many attempts to attach ‘fun’ to schoolwork. Around 1970, a new textbook came into use called Physics is Fun. Needless to say, it was not. In their rush for a snappy title, the publishers had condensed the real version: Physics is a Complex and Difficult Subject Which Involves Lots of Mathematics: Only a Few Experiments Might Be Considered Fun, and These Are Usually Not Allowed in Class. A recent EU research programme, also called ‘Physics is Fun’ (Physfun 2006) attempted a similar feat, that of demonstrating that ‘physics is easy and fun’. This chapter attempts to remedy the gap in fun research, using data from the EPL project and in particular the pupil opinion data gathered from the project’s pupil opinion instrument.