scraped kneeFailure is instructional in its process. In the landscape of learning we all have discovered that it is during the bumps and bruises that the most important part of learning takes place . We learn from risk. If you think back to your own childhood and the learning that took place, how many of you can remember a dozen compelling enduring learning moments in your schools that stuck?

Most of the folks I share this question with can barely remember one or two moments let alone a dozen. There’s something wrong with that… isn’t there?

When we take a look at kids immersed in the “flow‘ that’s where the fun is. Hard fun, but fun… and that’s where I learn best too. Growing up as a Kamloops kid living on the ski hill at Tod Mountain (now Sun Peaks) I learned how to ski by skiing with people better than me. Usually, they were much better than me. I broke skis, and glasses and pummeled my body over moguls… but in the end I became a pretty good skier and I remember those moments like they were yesterday.

In my schooling I know I have the usual answers about learning – gym class and breaks were my favorites. And the classes that Mr. Gordon Gore taught. He was a remarkable science teacher and spent more hours than I can give him credit for setting up his learning space with hands on experimentation so that the laws of physics became second nature. He made the abstract become concrete and did it by allowing us to experiment… and fail. Now that he’s left teaching, he’s used his genius to set up the Big Little Science Centre and continues his work making the world a better place by sharing his knowledge of science.

He made a difference to me and used three important facets to  “flow based learning”. His teaching allowed for the following:

  • experiential learning
  • student voice
  • embracing failure

So… Thanks Mr. Gore (Dr. Gore!) = I finish my career in education this year – I’ve been doing this for 31 years and you’ve been a part of that work. Tomorrow I’ll go seek something to fail at while I learn with some bumps and bruises.