Picture taking your first flying lesson and being asked by your flight instructor to land the plane by yourself. Or that during your first driving lesson you were asked to parallel park the car. Crazy, right? Absolutely! But to a beginner, some of the very challenging things we ask them to do might seem just as traumatic and impossible. Sure we cushion difficult tasks by providing tiny steps toward the goal, and anticipate what might be a struggle to learn by strengthening precursive actions, but nonetheless, for some students, it can seem as daunting as landing a plane or parallel parking a car. The answer for me rests in trying to remember what it was like when I first learned what I am about to ask my students to do. Putting ourselves in their place is a great way to feel what they feel, to worry about what they worry about, to know the frustrations they are sensing, and to remember the dread that might be wafting over them. There is no question that the better we hone our teaching skills, the more we can lessen or alleviate those things. But remembering that very moment when we first were learning something is certainly a great way to think about what we do and how we do it.
Peter Loel Boonshaft, Director of Education
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