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The Theory of Play ~ Neva L. Boyd

The Theory of Play ~ Neva L. Boyd

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Published by Stephen Dela Cruz
A Theory of Play as it relate to Learning, Work, and Life!
A Theory of Play as it relate to Learning, Work, and Life!

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Published by: Stephen Dela Cruz on Aug 09, 2012
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03/04/2013

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The Theory of Play by Neva L. Boyd
For Neva Boyd, play is its own end. Further, she sees playas transcending cultural and historical lines and believesthat human play has the same characteristics inprimitive man and in modern man.Beyond this, she finds play to be not only a voluntaryactivity but also a biological necessity. In effect, a humancannot "not play." Yet, she distinguishes between playthat is aimless or rudimentary and play that is directedand properly structured to maximize results.Play takes many forms- songs, dances, games, drama,sports, and various arts. Chiefly, this refers to her view of play as behavior that does have an indirect effect onroutine life. Miss Boyd examines this concept inconnection with her use of the term "play behavior." Playis a joyful experience. Play takes you into another worldof its own creation, disregarding conventional behavioryet subject to a special set of social controls. Withal, playis not merely amusement or escape from reality, saysMiss Boyd Social values are found and observed in playthat are unlike any in other behavior, for play has its ownrules and it provides incentive for one's best behavior andexpression of one's ultimate capacity. Play requiresintelligence, imagination, aesthetic feeling, sensitivity,spontaneity, originality, and productivity. At some length,she develops her thesis that play provides for ethicaleducation through pleasurable disciplined behavior inmoral education. Moreover, play call be a powerful tool forcorrection of deviant behavior. Miss Boyd's view here isthat the deviant behavior should not be discussed with
 
the child. In particular she insists that play has its ownrewards and that prizes or undue recognition tend to robplay of its true value, which she holds Io beself-realization.In the final section of this paper Miss Boyd discusses thetransfer value of play. She uses the term "transformation"to describe the process through which values of playbecome a part of wider social behavior. Play helps thechild translate and express his experience. Activity in which reciprocal responsiveness via play isdominant provides a basis of unconsciously acquiredunderstanding of self and others. The real point is theinfluence of play on human learning and the developmentof the human being socially, mentally and physically. Inthe early period of their existence, the settlementsprovided social activities in the nature of play, programsranging from nursery schools for young children andathletic games for youth to social clubs for youth andadults. Within this range of cultural education organicnormality and social ethics were prompted as by-productsof play activities.The schools at that time were not wholly unmindful of theeducational value of play and a play program comprisedof games was introduced experimentally in a publicschool system in Massachusetts. The experiment was notsuccessful, probably because of the rigidity of the playactivities as taught by teachers of physical education,which largely prevented the emergence of spontaneity inthe games and play and also because of the prevalent
 
emphasis on physical activities in the play curriculum.Formal education has utilized in some small degree theform play activities but has in its individuated andcompetitive system failed to preserve the spontaneity thatgives the play activity vitality and makes it play and artand therefore gives it organism-as-whole value.The writer had observed children at play in the earlysocial settlements and had noted their failures in theirefforts to create their own play as well as their occasionalhappyfiying successes.Play takes innumerable forms and varied content. Theplay of a human being has its beginnings in his dynamicimpulsive behavior, which becomes play when he employsit for his own satisfaction.Many attempts have been made to define play none of which are wholly satisfactory and yet most of them statefacts about play.Experience reveals the difficulty many adults and evenchildren have to get into play psychologically and yetthere is no genuine play without it. Play is a universalform of behavior common to man. Play is a way of behaving and therefore play behavior is a common form of human behavior. The play impulse finds expression inmany forms of behavior and is indulged in for thesatisfaction it affords in itself. The essential factor in playis the processes of playing. Simple play behavior patternsare easily understood when one realizes that human

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