The Yellow Ribbon of Classroom FLOW

As part of my Kindermusik training for re-licensure after a 5 year hiatus from teaching KI, to discuss the topic of “flow” in the classroom we were asked to view and reflect upon a video of a young rhythmic gymnast doing a ribbon routine much like this one:

In the classroom, creating natural, quick and effective transitions between activities makes for keeping the “ribbon” aloft in the flow of the class. When I watch the video, I am certainly swept up into a beautiful and timeless art, one of athleticism, grace, expressive communication, and beauty. And I am impressed – bowled over – by the self-discipline of the young (very young-appearing!) woman. 

Yet I also think, “Who coached this kid into the expressive, competent, competitive, graceful young woman we see in this video?” And I have absolutely no doubt, her supportive, committed parents and/or other caregivers helped form her work ethic, committed to the years and thousands of dollars of lessons, and drove her however far was needed to help her achieve her dream.

An old adage says, “You can’t lead where you haven’t been.” To an extent, I believe that, but only in part. Many times, we’re asked in life to lead where we haven’t previously been, at least not exactly. For example, that young woman’s coaches and choreographer(s) probably never performed her routine themselves; but they worked hard, drew from personal experiences, and prepared thoroughly in order to provide that talented, hard-working girl with a routine that challenged her and impressed the judges.

In the case of our Kindermusik training, it’s quite rigorous for similar reasons: to give any potential teacher the chance to go where she or he may never have gone before, and do so as successfully as possible while still gaining experience with every class. Our training provides many ways to consider classroom planning for optimizing each opportunity for growth and to face challenges we may never have experienced prior to entering our KI classroom filled with families. That way, we can lead and train our families with full abandon in the classroom, giving it our all without worrying about whether we’ve prepared “enough.” 

That said, I don’t believe for a second that the girl in the video and her coaches ever sit back on their laurels and say, “that was good enough.” I believe it’s more typically, “What’s next? How can we get better? What other techniques are out there? What’s she ready for next? What else can we (all) learn?”

In my case, I taught KM for 13 years previously and am getting re-licensed. I’ve taught other, competing early-childhood music and movement programs. I’ve taught many subjects in public and private schools. I teach private music lessons. And my experience serves me well. However, no matter how much experience I have, every single Kindermusik class (or any classroom full of people at all, even a private lesson) is different, every single time. So I’m relishing this time of going through re-training, even though I sought to avoid it at first. Because I can always stand to improve my efforts at keeping the metaphorical yellow ribbon aloft in my KI classroom. 

Your thoughts?

What thoughts come to you, whether about flow in a classroom or anything else regarding preparation or performance, as a result of watching that video?

 

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