Sunday morning, 35 degrees worth of mercury pushing up and an 8 year and 9 year old boy to keep amused; how best to cool off? Ice Skating of course. It is probably the challenge of writing everyday that keeps me mindful of new situations and specifically the hidden depths of learning in our daily experiences and so this post wrote itself in my head as I was gliding across the frozen water!
So two learners learning to ice skate, but each with very different mindsets and heartsets in relation to their learning. Both have a desire to learn how to skate, to join in with the other kids gliding around the rink, but M does not like to take a risk. He is happy to hold on to the rail, to slowly develop his confidence and to really focus on his technique. He listens carefully to my advice and enacts it. He is skating well, but is still nervous and lacking confidence, so my focus is on praise and building him up, taking his hand and moving him gently away from the barrier. We are skating hand-in-hand when he gently pulls his hand away from mine and sets of carving his own path through the ice.
G on the other hand has a belly full of fire. He has total confidence that he will be able to skate. He sets off with speed, loses balance after 2 metres and falls heavily to the ground. If that had of been me, I would have been shaken and maybe even thought about giving up. G gets up, dusts off the ice clinging to his trouser leg and sets of again. Same thing, tons of energy, 3 metres, crash, get up. Not once did G flinch from the fall. I skate over to him and give him some advice; slow down, focus on technique rather than speed. He nods, sets of at speed and crashes again. G knows that he is getting better, that each fall is teaching him something and though he falls 50 times, not once does he give it up. (Insert Batman's father's quote "Why do we fall bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.")
Both boys loved the experience, both were skating pretty well by the end of the session, both were learning in different ways, but both were learning. Both found flow and excitement in what they were doing, both had their small victories and defeats and both were utterly engaged and challenged.
It just goes to show that a simple act of learning like putting on a pair of skates has so many subtle layers, so many highs and lows, so many opportunities to develop our knowledge set, our skill set, our tool set and our heart set.
So set out to learn from every moment and learn you will.