A Healthy Learning Environment: Play + Collaboration

It can be really intimidating to try something new for the first time:  a job, an exercise class, a project, a new recipe…  In fact, unless you have experience with something, fear can hold you back from trying just about anything.

How can we address this fear in our classrooms?  What can teachers do to help our students push past their fear so they can think clearly, take risks and be creative?



Image via “Thoughts on Arting” by Melissa Purtee


Melissa Purtee wrote about the importance of collaboration when students are learning foundational skills, which is vital for any classroom.  These skills can be considered as a form of visual literacy that is needed for effective and powerful artworks to develop.  Often, I connect skill development to athletic performance since I have so many fantastic athletes in my classes.  They understand the importance of practice and improvement if their goal is to play well.

I have found that students enjoy collaboration when they are building their skills in class.  There is less pressure to perform at a certain level because the expectation is simply to experiment, explore and …play.


Play is a remedy for fear.


My classes are enjoying a number of structured inquiry units (designed while reading “Dive Into Inquiry” by Trevor Mackenzie), and I’m so happy to offer a healthy environment for students to build confidence and comfort with materials before they make informed decisions about their final artwork.


Check out this post by Girls Garage 


Never let fear hold you back from becoming the person you are meant to be.


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