Lessons We Can All Learn From Skateboarding (and how to apply it to school)

I love skateboarding and I am passionate about teaching.

As such, I found this video quite captivating.

I really agree with what Dr. Tae has to say, especially . . .

FAILURE IS NORMAL

“In skateboarding, failure is normal.

Failure is expected. . .

It took me 58 tries to get that trick . . . There’s no sugar coating it. You don’t get a C+ on one of the attempts because you made it halfway.

The failure isn’t stigmatized. It’s normal. It’s expected.”

NO GRADES

“The goal in skateboarding is to learn the trick.

The reward in skateboarding is landing the trick.

Layering grades on top of this adds nothing to the experience at all.”

I like the idea of having students learn without assigning grades. I wish school wasn’t about grades whatsoever. I’ve been saying this for some time now, but I’d have a really hard time convincing parents, administration, and the school board that my program at school will not be graded.

“When learning is the goal and learning is the reward, there is no point in cheating. This is just how it works.”

NO TIME LIMIT ON LEARNING

“Nobody knows ahead of time how long it takes anyone to learn anything.”

We have time constraints at school we simply have to live with. We have a certain number of math  units and topics to cover. As such, we often spend three weeks on a unit, we assess it, and then we move on.

Some students can whip through topics and gain an understanding very quickly.

THE SECRET TO LEARNING ANYTHING IS . . . 

“Work you ass off until you figure it out.

That’s all there is to skateboarding.

If I was only given 50 tries . . . I’m not gonna get it. I’m never gonna learn . . . That’s a shame because I might have been kind of good at it.”

HOW DO WE APPLY THIS TO OUR TEACHING?

Getting rid of grades would be a good start. Especially in the arts. I teach instrumental music and I think it parallels skateboarding quite well. We can hear it. We can feel the vibe.

“We get real-time meaningful feedback”

We can get rid of artificial timelines.

We can allow students to work at their own pace and let them know failure won’t be written down on a report card. That each failure can be a learning experience.

If school were truly like this, maybe students would enjoy it more too.

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1 Comment on Lessons We Can All Learn From Skateboarding (and how to apply it to school)

  1. Thank you for sharing this skateboarding lessons pretty sure my son will love this and he will learn more from your post..:-)

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