Last week I read about why schools should set up a Dungeons and Dragons club (D&D). I’d like to say it took more than a little time investment and learning for this ‘shake, battle n roll‘ novice to started. Of interest was the article’s highlighting of the potential impact on neurodiverse learners. Interesting, we have had a second request for next September! I have had the call.
Back in September, I was asked to set up a D&D club. I had no idea where to start and no interest in Stranger Things. A fellow football parent gave me a steer and we purchased Adventure Begins and an Essential Kit. Unlike the article, our group didn’t explode and we remained a small niche cluster of five. Regrettably, sporting fixtures often killed off one, or two or three players.
You can read the article if you want to know more about D&D however – here is what we learnt and gained.
The impact on students
We enjoyed learning together and there was a really warm atmosphere. Our hour club was perhaps a little short because as soon as we got going… we were packing away our swords, shields and potions. As with the article, there was social interaction, empathy, teamwork and community generally. There was turn-taking and strategy, however given the neurodiverse focus – there was also plenty of story-telling and rule testing/breaking. In fact the Essentials Kit told us, if we didn’t have or know the rule… make it up.
I understand that “D&D acts like a beacon for neurodiverse learners.” A welcoming club. A club that welcomes diversity. I would add, that our players (and players more broadly) play in character. Players are – ‘masking.’ Rather than masking to manage themselves within school. A “haven” – yes.
As for “clear-cut” rules that are “completely flexible”? We often came unstuck with rules, even with a copy of the condensed Player’s Handbook. What I do know is, libraries are wonderful spaces, great for D&D and attracting D&D players, even better when filled with a section on D&D and staffed by Lucas Maxwell types (the D&D librarian who wrote the original post).