‘For sport and play I think that we are born…..’

遊びをせんとや生れけむ 戯れせんとや生れけん
遊ぶ子供の声きけば 我が身さえこそ動がるれ(#359)

Title: Royal Visit to Ôhara, from The Tale of the Heike. Attributions: By peterjr1961 Peter Roan.

梁塵秘抄(りょうじんひしょう) ‘Ryoujin hishou: The Collection of Japanese Popular Songs’ Edited by the Ex- Emperor Goshirakawa in around B.C 1180.

For sport and play

I think that we are born;

For jesting and laughter

I doubt not we are born.

For when I hear

The voice of children at their play,

My limbs, even my

Stiff limbs, are stirred.


Translated by the reknowned Arthur D. Waley in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, April 1921.

(Please refer the above translation to the link here.)


When you are absolutely riveted by your interests, you forget the time passing by. It seems to me the whole concept behind reverse instruction and game-based learning or play lies here.

Since we want students to be absorbed in what they learn, educators thinks of various possible teaching methods to have them interested in the subjects, which teachers teach to students.

Even extra schools, where students go after their commitments of compulsory schools attract  new/incoming students and their parents in innovative ways of coaching them. They could refer to things, which normally compulsory schools could not offer to students because there are not enough time to do relevant experiences such as experiments/practices for science/math, programming lessons for IT and following-up or going ahead of/some explorations of school curriculum.

Extra (cram )school and its developing coaching methods 

As I read through articles for this week, one of extra schools after regular compulsory schools in Japan came up to my mind. This school was a kind of cutting edge at that time when I used to go there to review or prepare for my studies at compulsory educational institutions. It introduced the concept of game-based learning, which had been integrated with school curriculum. By means of the game-based learning, students are supposed to learn the elements of subjects step by step.  However  this was not about ‘learning new things in new ways’ since the contents were all top-down contents, but rather ‘learning old things in new ways’ if we could still see this type of learning at the extra(cram) school, where I went.

At that time, this was quite innovative learning method at least for me, and it was OK to be left behind the progress of other students since the curriculum at that school customizes your according level. Every booth(, in which there is a desk-top computer with the integrated curriculum installed into the extra school’s system) was segregated by the board in your right and left, and there were no pressures at all compared to any other types of cram schools(Juku) in Japan since the school would have no rankings of your extra-school performances visually posted and you were graded against your previous scores and levels. In addition, you were welcome to call for coaches or teachers to ask inquiries as they did their work(answered the questions based on the game-based learning method) on the computer during your contact hours.

The process of the learning system was that the first cycle of each lesson has the lecture, and the other half of the lesson takes you to answering the questions regarding the topic. This was a kind of early developing stage of flipped-classroom since there were no hours spent for experiments or exploring your learning journey.

Your competitive rivals were yourself within the educational philosophy at the extra school. Customization of your lessons, the way each student is assessed within the institution and the lecture you could take on your demand in front of the desk-top at the extra school could be said to be ‘learning old things in new ways’.

It is your job to get yourself motivated/absorbed.

On the other hand, I enjoyed the first half year of the custimized program at the extra school since game-based learning attracted me in an easy-going way, and I felt or had illusions on myself if I could be on the better track or  learn better/more  to catch up with or enhance my understanding of the compulsory curriculum of the school.  Yet the attraction or my addiction to the method of using the desk-top PCs to take the lecture and answer the questions based on the curriculum did not last since I simply got bored with learning old things in new ways(,in particular, learning methods) although I kept going to the extra school for a while. You would get bored with some kinds of innovations once time passes by and you get used to it.

Although the new ways of learning such as game-based(or sound-like play) learning,the reverse instruction itself and even flipped classroom are applied to the provisional and novel educational methods, the contents have to be dynamic enough to attract learners. In other words, I personally think that this is something each learner has to find in his/her way to get himself/herself absorbed in enjoying to learn.

It could be you that can motivate or inspire yourself. Moreover no ones could help this point no matter what parents or teachers encourage learners or students to do their studies or research. Since nothing stays forever, everything is changing. Yet  the fact that each student’s curiosity needs to come from his or hers seems to be an unchangeable status or element for learning whereas all sorts of learning methods such as the reverse instruction, flipped-classroom,the gamification and the game-based learning could be replaced with far-out strategies at some points in some days.

Idling moments

In order to have learners motivated by themselves, educators should welcome idling or seemingly ineffective/inefficient time, which learners are confronted with or spend although more or less to educators or parents it could sound nonsense or unproductive.


  • “Shaping tech for the classroom” by Marc Prensky. Edutopia.12/2/2005. Online. The George Lucas Educational Foundation. 2012.
  • “The Ex-Emperor Goshirakawa (1127-93)’ under ‘Japanese Elegies Index’ categorized by ‘Modern World-surveys of poetical works’ by Kiyo. Repository of mythos and poesy-Welcome to Kiyo’s gleanings from literature. 02/06/2008. Online. GoStats. Hosted by Earth-Link. 2012.
  • “Royal Visit to Ôhara, from The Tale of the Heike” by By peterjr1961 Peter Roan. December 18, 2010 in Upper East Side, NY, US, using a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi. Online. Flicker. Yahoo! Inc. 2012.