I've said it over and over again. Play is important. It's crucial. Note how he talks about problem solvers having to use their hands. Mechanics. Engineers. Kids with blocks. Something happens when you get the tactile sense involved. Kinesthetic learner or not, adding the sense of touch and being able to get your hands on it makes such a big difference mere English words do not adequately convey the importance of it.
2011 and the world of mathematics has still not caught on to how important manipulatives are for increasing comprehension and learning of math concepts. It's still something for special education or minorities. "Real" math teachers don't use manipulatives and certainly not on adults. I note the "real" math teachers are failing miserably as a whole, with a very few bright spots here and there.
Here is yet another TED talk on the subject of play:
"Almost all creativity involves purposeful play." ~Abraham Maslow American psychologist 1908-1970
"Whoever wants to understand much must play much." ~Gottfried Benn German physician 1886-1956
"Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning." ~Fred Rogers American television personality 1928-2003
"People tend to forget that play is serious." ~David Hockney Contemporary British painter
"Do not…keep children to their studies by compulsion but by play." ~Plato Greek philosopher 427-347 BCE
"Necessity may be the mother of invention, but play is certainly the father." ~Roger von Oech Contemporary American creativity guru
Not to hit you over the head with it, with these math quotes but perhaps maybe, you just might want this to become part of your teaching philosophy. I try to keep these quotes in mind when I play math with my students. Grander men than me have left behind these words so that I might also understand the crucial role of play.
"We didn't do anything dad, we just played with blocks." ~My favorite quote from a little girl who went from "F" to "A".
Here are a few blog posts as a reminder: