Courtesy of The Strong
There is an apparent link between children’s thinking styles, the types of play activities they prefer, and their academic achievements, according to a recent study by Robin M. Holmes of Monmouth University and colleagues Sharon Liden and Lisa Shines in the American Journal of Play, a scholarly journal of The Strong in Rochester, N.Y.
Holmes and colleagues studied 74 middle school students (45 boys and 29 girls, ages 10 to 15) of mostly Filipino and part Hawaiian heritages to assess the relationship between the children’s thinking styles, play preferences, and school performance as measured by state mandated test scores and grade point average. Two standard assessment tests were administered to determine the students’ personality traits, and students were asked to provide written responses to three questions about themselves and their favorite playful activities to help categorize them as field dependent (gravitating towards social situations and interactions) or field independent (preferring to avoid social contact and set their own standards for thinking and behaving).
The authors’ subsequent analysis revealed that the students’ preferences for sports related to their scores on state-mandated tests for language and math; children who preferred unstructured play activities tended to achieve academic success; and cultural values (i.e., the collective, community-oriented culture of this particular community) were correlated to thinking style.
The entire issue of the American Journal of Play can be accessed freely online at www.journalofplay.org.