Basketball as Learning
Last night, our PTO hosted the second annual staff basketball game between the faculties of the two middle schools in our district: Stony Brook vs. Blanchard. Being a runner and not an athlete with much coordination at all, basketball is definitely out of my comfort zone. As soon as I stepped foot on the court, I realized I was in for a steep learning curve! Being thrust into the role of a struggling learner (struggling to play basketball), I was humbly reminded of the challenges so many of our students face every single day to learn the skills and content the 21st century requires. I found myself taking away a few important lessons about teaching and learning from basketball:
- Meet your students where they're at: When I couldn't make a throw from the 3-point line, Amanda suggested "Why don't you start a little closer, Steve?"
- Provide a model for students: Watching Katie and Justin make nearly every basket gave me a expert model for learning.
- Remind students of the goal: Scott and Bev reminded me, every time I played, who/where I was supposed to guard.
- Celebrate small successes: Though I am an awful player, when Stephanie and Dianna gave me high fives, it made all the difference to keep on trying.
- Provide constant feedback: After I returned to the bench, Beth continued to tell me how to improve what I was doing.
- Everybody deserves a cheerleader: As I ran past the SB bench, Alyssa and Kim continued to encourage me to try my best.
- Everyone deserves a second chance: With sufficient practice, I know Coach Cohen will give me another opportunity (or two) to show my new knowledge and understanding!