Lightbulb Moments – Lessons in Learning

Lightbulb Moments

Keira and I were walking to school this morning and this afternoon’s swimming lesson came up in conversation. Keira said, ‘I hope Mum lets us practice butterfly, today – it’s my favourite stroke’, before asking me, ‘Do you think it is difficult for Mum to come up with a whole load of interesting lessons. I flipped the question back to Keira, ‘I don’t know – what do you think makes an interesting lesson?’ The following thoughts emerged from my ten year old daughter in the next 100 yards.

What Makes A Lesson Interesting?

Make it hard, but not too hard

Make it fun, especially if you’ve been good

Use different techniques

Involve people, ask them what they want to know

Encourage and support people, help them with their fear

Show me don’t tell me

‘What do you mean, show me don’t tell me?’ I asked. Keira replied, ‘There’s no point in telling a small child that the deep end is two metres deep, you need to get in the water and show them what that looks like and feels like’. And there we were – close enough to school for Keira’s embarrassment alarm to sound. A quick kiss, an ‘I love you’ and she was gone.

I walked home, lifted by the conversation and the sunny day. We didn’t get round to talking about Keira’s opening question, I’ll see what Keira thinks about that later this afternoon, but as a simple guide to what makes a lesson interesting, I think Keira is pretty much on the money here. What might you add to her list?

Author: Doug Shaw

Artist and Consultant. Embracing uncertainty, sketching myself into existence. Helping people do things differently, through an artistic lens.

6 thoughts on “Lightbulb Moments – Lessons in Learning”

  1. That is wise words from keira!

    I love the concept of showing and think we can get too easily dragged into ‘classroom’ style training and forget most of what we learn is forgotten over night.

    I think ‘fun’ is hard to define in a training environment, what is fun for one is another nightmare – be good to hear what others think about this?

  2. I agree with Graham (both as a trainer and as a trainee Level 2 triathlon coach!) and would also add that variety is important and to make sure that everyone goes away having learned/gained something.
    Interestingly we had a brainstorm about what made coaching sessions good on the Level 2 course and I said “fun” – bearing in mind triathlon is something we choose to do in our spare time, but some people disagreed as they associated the word “fun” with laughter so we agreed on “enjoyable.”

  3. Thanks for all the feedback folks, very useful. Fear of fun eh? I see this too – and whilst I think enjoyable is a rather watered down alternative – I’ve been known to use it too. Fun means different things to different people so yes – worth taking a little time to try and gauge what it means for a group perhaps? Alternatively – just get stuck in – encourage folk to relax and I expect a degree of fun will just….happen.

    PS – I was just joking about the fear… 🙂

  4. Thanks Keira for reminding me of those things. I think they are the most important rules a teacher should keep in mind. I learned a lot about what a lesson should be like and in the end you just feel overwhelmed by all the criteria you have to meet. So this is much more helpful!

    I also remember me in sports class. I was never really good at anything but I still liked doing all kinds of sports because it was ok to make a mistake or simply suck at something. My teachers always encouraged me to keep trying and usually I got better or mastered something I hadn’t before. What a good feeling! I also remember laughing a lot because I tripped quite often 😉 but that was also ok. Ah. Good old times!

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