Learn. Unlearn. Relearn.

haulin netI have the fortune to meet with our K-8 PE teachers. These meet-ups are great opportunities to network, to share best practices, and—most of all—to play. Play is one of the six critical aptitudes Daniel Pink lists for success in the conceptual age.

The Bogue Sound Elementary dynamic duo (and intern) led us through the following agenda on February 16:

  1. Paper Plate Twist,
  2. Boot Scootin’ Boogie line dance,
  3. Tchoukball,
  4. and a transcendent yoga sequence.

Tchoukball is a new sport/game we learned and played. None of us had ever played it before, so we brought all our alpha-dog athletic habits to the experience. We soon found out they were useless.

The rules of tchoukball run counter-cultural to our traditional sporting background—

Dr Hermann Brandt, the creator of tchoukball, wrote:

‘The objective of human physical activities is not to make champions, but make a contribution to building a harmonious society’.

Tchoukball has a unique Charter which underpins the ‘Spirit of the Game’ so elusive in modern sport. Fair play and respect for the opposition is a fundamental part of the way in which tchoukball is played. All physical contact between players and interceptions are banned, enabling all players of differing shapes and sizes to play together.

Back in the BSE gym, the first few games of tchoukball we played were revealing. Our inclinations were to do all the things we had learned over time. We wanted to put our heads down and run with the ball, we wanted to block, we wanted to intercept, we wanted to fire the ball at the net with Herculean force.

None of this worked in tchoukball. We had to unlearn those habits in order to be successful. Imagine, if you will, 25 accomplished PE teachers having to unlearn the skills we prize and teach. We were a little uncomfortable, a tad out of our element. We were going to new ground together and that created an interesting and supportive social dynamic.

Collectively, we began sharing ideas and strategies on how we could succeed at this game. The main discovery was that it was more advantageous to defend the carom or rebound than the shooter or the shot. At our mature places in life, we had to re-learn what it means to succeed at a sport.

“Learn. Unlearn. Relearn.” It is a catchphrase that is fast becoming cliche. But there may be no more succinct way to sum up the path to success in the unpredictable, unconventional future.

In our classrooms across all subject areas, do we engage students with innovative learning experiences that allow them to solve unconventional problems? Or do we deliver the same old predictable line?

Thank you, Dr. PLB and Debbie B, for supporting our tchoukball adventure. Thank you, Colleen and Jo-Ellen, for leading our learning journey.

Tchoukball, anyone?

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