Learning in The Zone

Reflections on Learning

Learning in education is not so much about getting information in your head as it is about gaining the skills needed to work with that information. In order to gain skills, we must practice. Practice is what we do to improve how well we can do a task. In essence to practice is to try to do poorly that which we would like to do well. In a sense, practice is trying to do what we can no do, in order that someday we can. That’s why the little train said, “I think I can”. If you believe in your ability to learn, you can challenge yourself to learn. We’ve all done it.

It has been said that practice makes perfect. This is wrong. Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect. In music, if we rehearse our mistakes we’ll make them in performance. We must play slowly enough so that we don’t make the mistake. “First you get good”, as the Midas Muffler Man said, “And then you get fast”.

Learning a skill, you can’t do yet involves a continuum from easy to hard. The best difficulty level I call, “The Zone”. It is a glorious thing if learners are in The Zone. They are focussed and connected with the subject. They are not easily distracted. They know they can win, they know they will win, and they know that when they do win, they will feel good about themselves. Learning in The Zone is hard, and fun. More than fun, it is deeply satisfying. It makes a learner grow as a person.

When learners are in The Zone they benefit from help. Helpers don't do the practicing for the learner, but they provide feedback and answers just when needed. This idea of being to help when the learning gets hard is called 'scaffolding'. When a learner is in The Zone we provide scafolding to that they can practice properly and learn well.

Here is a chart that shows how learners may feel about a practice task. If you work closely with your children you know how they feel. Is it too easy? Then turn the page. Is it too hard? Back up. Find that sweet spot. How close to the frustration line a learner can go depends on their maturity. Most learners move around in the zone. That’s excellent learning. I would encourage you to take some time to study the diagram and think about how you and your children can be in The Zone.

Dates and Resources

What I'm up to

Getting on the phone to connect and make sure you're off to a good start and your details are in order.

Thanks for your uploads into SeeSaw.  I am finished your Student Learning Plans but I'm happy to get feedback from you and update them. Please to sign off as soon as possible, it's important.

Thanks for all of you who sent in learning samples. I'm still waiting for a few. They must show the student's work, and have the student's name and date on them. Although not strictly required, I appreciate full names and dates. So for example name: "Gary Oak" rather than "Gary". And date: "October 15, 2018", rather than "Oct 15". They must have a date on or before prior to   October 19, 2018.

Tasks for You

  1. Foundation Skills Assessment for Grade 4 and 7. You will receive a package. Just to the tests as outlined in the instructions. Some people make the tests out to be more important than they are. They are a sort of intensive survey. Your individual results can vary on any given day, but they do provide parents, schools, and the Ministry of Education invaluable information for how we are doing. Please do participate.  Participation can also be a learning experience for both youth and parents.
  2. SLP signoff: You will need to sign off on the learning plans when they are done. I will advise you when they are done. Signing off does not mean you approve or agree with everything that's there or that it is error free. It's not a commitment on your part to complete everything they say. Signing off means you acknowledge that we worked together to create the document. I am responsible for what is written there.
    The procedure is to:  Log into Encom,  click your child's name to go to their home page, find SLP Parent/Guardian sign off and click, follow the simple instructions entering your name and indicate your acknowledgment.
  3. Dated Samples:  For government requirements, samples must be something that the child has written with their own hands. Not pictures of children doing work, not pictures of their books, but samples of the work they are doing such as a completed worksheet.  The must have full name and date.

Dates and Links

You may be interested in my recommended resources page. I only add to these resources when I see a learner has done well using it within the BC curriculum. I hope to add a few more links this year.

 Rob Wahl recommended resources

Learn more about The Zone