Hey all! I have been asked to do two break out sessions at an upcoming work development day on how and why I use gaming in the classroom. If you have seen any of my posts it comes to no surprise that I find gaming as an absolutely vital part of learning and how much it has helped in the classes I am able to use it in; social,reading,math,forward thinking, teamwork, empathy,etc. After seeing some posts, specifically @Zatt 's recent comment on how it helped him focus in @ArcticCirclePit post and I was wondering how games have helped you in your life if you are willing to share!
I have pretty severe PTSD from running with gangs in a very different NYC than we have today (I was a troubled youth), as well as chronic nerve pain from a knife wound gone wrong. Gaming helps a LOT with both of those… situations… I have to deal with on the daily. There was an article a while back that touches on how gaming in general with chronic pain (/www.webmd.com/pain-management/features/games-pain-management), and while it was about video games, the same has always held true for me with tabletop RPGs. As for the PTSD, gaming doesn’t fix it, but it forces me to socialize rather than fall into my brain, and it pulls me out of the past (PTSD traps you there a lot) and into the present, sort of a nerdy version of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.
Also, when I was running with the wrong crowd, I am convinced D&D kept me and some of my crew alive. We missed some really messed up situations because we were off slinging dice rather than raising hell. Now that I work in the field of helping troubled youth with various mental disorders, I use gaming as a tool at my job for all of these reasons. I KNOW it works. Most of the clinicians I work with know my backstory (most people who go into this field came from the darkness themselves) and how gaming helped me, so they’re always encouraging their residents to joining my one-shot games or the board game nights we do.
Thanks for sharing, I really appreciate it AND what you do. I work for a level 4 setting myself and a lot of these kids would be at each others throats if they weren’t able to use a lot of the skills they have learned through working stuff out at the table as a team.
I’ll keep this (uncharacteristically) brief:
- When I was nine, I learned Holmes Basic D&D from the coolest kid in my grade school class. He had no idea what he was doing, and he was playing it wrong because his older brother had taught him all the wrong things, but it was fun anyway. This led me to become a gamemaster, figure out better ways to play, build worlds, and share them with my friends. It turned me on to history, mathematics, logic, science, expository and creative writing, and visual art and gave me plenty of practice learning about all of these disciplines as I grew to embrace the ideal of becoming a polymath to feed the sheer joy of learning inside me. I never looked back, and now I’m instilling the same values in my daughter at that same age, so that RPGs can be her foundation for finding that same satisfaction in living and learning.
- I have garnered some truly wonderful friendships over four decades of tabletop gaming, and RPGs have let me add and explore important dimensions to friendships that were already wonderful. My social intelligence and empathy are far better for these experiences.
- When everyone in my household has had a hard week, is suffering from winter doldrums, or has cabin fever from the routine of an otherwise uneventful weekend, nothing soothes the ails of all of my loved ones more reliably than gathering around the gaming table and sharing an exciting session that we all create together on a Saturday afternoon or Sunday night. Monday morning at the water cooler never seems bleak when you have stories to tell about how your ten-year-old outsmarted an orc patrol or fireballed a sloopful of undead pirates.
- Owing to its accessibility, ICRPG has been particularly transformative, allowing me to share more games across more genres with more people than every before. It’s the single best universal rules option for tabletop RPGs I have ever encountered.
That’s awesome. I love any time I can get folks around the table, especially if it’s to fight off the winter blues (here in Minnesota it’s especially important). Watching the kids figure out problems I have no solution for is also very rewarding.
As a teacher who also uses gaming in his classroom, I would add that it builds creativity, collaborative skills, healthy competition, how to win and not boast about it, and how to lose and not whine about it. For me, the biggest piece is the social aspect. It fosters play and bonding.
Level 4? That’s the tough work. Mine is a residential facility that works with most of the IOPs in Manhattan. We get the young adults ready for transitional support, so I have a TON of respect for people working in the intensive inpatient places.
There is so much stuff you can pack in without them noticing and it’s great. Looking for gear/paying for items, writing a letter to a nearby kingdom, working together to build a makeshift bridge and so on, and so forth. I love it.
Thanks, I sort of fell into the position while in between gigs (I used to do film and theater stuff) and found out I really enjoy the work I do here. Plus I can drag in my passions and use them for good, so win win.
While videogames do have their place I have found that board games or TTRPG-board game fusions seem to help with most with what I need.
I taught at a university counseling center and taught Army ROTC at the same time.
On the counseling side of things TTRPGs helps with practicing a realistic assessment of your resources (including social, emotional, etc aka Skills, Abilities or even Traits). After a proper assessment problem solving based on those strengths or weaknesses has helped. Games in general have helped a few clients work out some issues on their own and TTRPGs have even provided avenues to heal or work through challenges in their real life.
On the Army side of things I have used ICRPG GM principles to teach tactics but moreso leadership development and decision making.
Most of the time I use gaming in the classroom to simulate a potential future event. It allowed the cadets to slow down and think through their decisions. It also provided a great environment to FAIL! I much rather they make mistakes in the classroom during a game (and still see consequences lf their decisions) then in real life.
Hope those two examples give you some ideas. One was more practical than the other but I still think games in counseling has its place, and not just to provide reprieve.
On a personal level ICRPG gives me a place to be creative and play with my kids! My kids love it and really enjoy the fact that they can do whatever they want. They are forced to work together and solve problems and have a ton of fun as a family.
This is huge, a lot of our kiddo’s lack social skills so having a spot where they can say/do something and face a consequence (good or bad) that doesn’t affect them in real life let’ them test things out in really neat ways.
I just wanted to say thank you for posting this question.
It was a great reminder why I love ttrpgs in general. It’s mostly the social aspect that I like. And also creativity, problem solving and so on. And most importantly it really helped my English. Watching videos (reviews, GM tips, gameplays), reading articles.
Reading the comments above was so heartwarming. Thank you. All of you.
I’m glad you were able to get something out of it. I think that they are very important and a wonderful tool for life.