photo credit: 1960 Schwinn Cruiser via photopin (license)
Do you remember how you learned to ride a bike? Have you ever watched someone try to learn? It’s hard! Really, really hard. It’s often painful and extremely frustrating. Eventually, you start to just get the feel of it and once you learn, you can’t un-learn how to ride a bike. The phrase “just like riding a bike” resonates with me because the process of learning bike riding can be so different for each individual and yet regardless of HOW they learned, once they can do it they can always do it. I have heard so many varied bike riding stories with different methods to get the kids to balance just right. Some parents start their kids with training wheels, some start with a bike with no pedals at all. One popular method in my neighborhood is to take kids to a grassy hill and let them roll down it on their bikes until they are able to stay upright. Then there are always a few kids who can simply climb on and ride around the block.
The same principle holds true of most learning. It’s hard, and can be very frustrating. It may take many different methods to accomplish “getting it”, but once you truly learn something it cannot be taken from you. In the end it doesn’t really matter what methods were used as long as the end results in learning. Think about how many different methods we have for teaching reading, writing, and math concepts. With the use of technology, our toolbox just got infinitely bigger. We also can’t discount the fact that kids learning to ride a bike are typically very motivated. That motivation drops off considerably at a very early age for many of our students, especially those who struggle. Keeping learning fresh and fun is also a big part of the role of teachers and kids can be very picky consumers when it comes to classroom activities.
As a special educator I am passionate about searching for new ways to teach old tricks. My students constantly surprise and amaze me and I’ve learned to always keep exploring new options. I’m also beyond thrilled to share what I learn with other educators.
This blog will be a place for me to share tools, tips, tricks, and ideas as they relate to the science and the art of teaching. Welcome! Now let’s go for a ride.