|The Educational Value of Pokemon|
When she first took up this hobby, I thought of it as pure "bubble gum" - a time-waster with NO educational value (rather like Bubble Gum that has no nutritional value) - but just "fun."
And that's okay! Everyone needs something just "fun" now and then.
Ironically, I'm one of those people who gets annoyed when they go to the toy store and see a doll that says, "Educational! Promotes eye-hand coordination & encourages social skills" or a car with a label that proclaims, "Educational! Helps develop fine motor skills and spatial reasoning!"
I mean, seriously?! It's a TOY!
But, I can't help but notice that here and there, a wee bit of education is happening when my daughter plays Pokemon : )
This is how:
1. Playing the Pokemon game requires math. Kids have to add, subtract or multiply (often two or three digit numbers with zero as a final digit) to play.
2. Pokemon nearly all have "punny" names that are based on Greek, Latin, Historical, or even Pop Culture roots. Decoding the meaning of the names has given us literally hours of learning root words & foreign words, as well as understanding the occasional cultural reference.For instance, when we look at Geodude, we discuss the root Geo, relating to the Greek root γη (Ge). When we see Purrloin, we discuss the meaning of the word Purloin, and Poe's work, The Purloined Letter.
3. Sorting/organizational skills. My daughter & her friends spend hours sorting and organizing their cards. Some do it alphabetically, others by type, others by cuteness or color. (Most of them can tell you exactly which cards they do and don't own - out of the hundreds produced - a huge mental feat!) Then, once in a while they switch their organizational method and re-do it all! It's easy to look at this as a total time waster as a parent, until you reflect on the huge value of organizational skills in the adult world. Can you imagine a statistician or accountant with no organizational skills? Or a secretary? Or a reporter? Or a botanist? Or a researcher? Or a housewife? Organizational skills are tremendously valuable, and they do require practice to master.
4. Social & business skills. Learning the negotiating skills needed to trade Pokemon cards well without offending friends (OR getting ripped off) has great applicability in the adult world. Expect your child to make some mistakes & need to make some apologies here! That is part of how we learn to mend friendships and treat our friends properly.
5. Literature. Pokemon movies often borrow themes from the Bible (Darkrai, a "diety" sacrifices his life for his people, and is resurrected, for example!) and classic literature. Learning to recognize common themes from Holy Scriptures (and to see important differences!) and analyze them is something a lot of folks don't undertake till high school or college. But your young Pokemon fan might be doing it already!
6. Character. In the video episodes, the young people exhibit such values as perseverance, cooperation, kindness, and contrition.
7. Phonics Practice. We've all seen it. The seemingly accomplished adult reader who reads regularly in Church, but openly tells you, "I can't read all those 'begats!' Who can pronounce all those strange names?" Becoming truly proficient at sounding out words takes practice long after first grade has ended. Pokemon names give kids that practice (Incidentally, reading the Bible aloud ALSO gives that practice ; ) Sounding out all those Poke-names (many of which are "punny" when correctly pronounced) is great practice!
8. Spiritual Development - Pokemon, like any interest, can become an addiction (in the Spiritual life, sometimes called a "Passion") that starts to take too important a place in one's life. When we'd rather play Pokemon than pray, or go to Church, we need to learn to reign in that interest and keep it in its proper place, submitting it to more important things. This, also, is a great skill to learn for adulthood!
Now, I'm not about to log Pokemon hours as school time, BUT - seeing the education that's happening during play time is still a gratifying thing : )
This is being shared on:
You're the Star
Inspire Me Monday
Tuesdays with a Twist
Encouraging Hearts & Homes
Literacy Musing Monday