****We are currently at capacity and are not able to accept new students. If you contact us, we can add your student to a waiting list for the next available tutoring appointment time that matches your request.****

Learning: It’s Like Riding a Bike

by | Jun 30, 2016 | Children, Community, Education, Fredericksburg, Parenting, School, Spotsylvania, Students, Test Strategies, Tutoring | 0 comments

Learning: It’s Like Riding a Bike

 

nina parrish, the huffington post, blog

This year for my daughter’s birthday, we got her a big girl bike. Shiny and pink with training wheels. If you live in our part of the country, you know that we are in the midst of an unending monsoon. It has rained for days. My daughter’s bike sits in the garage and she sits watching it eagerly, waiting for the sun to come out.

If you have kids in school, or you are a teacher, as I am, you also know that it is testing season. And anyone who has entered a school around this time of year knows that everything centers around the tests. Kids are prepping for the tests. Teachers are reviewing for the tests. Schools are holding pep rallies for the tests. My daughter came home this week chanting a test-taking mantra.

Teachers come up with catchy slogans and acronyms to try to propel students towards test-taking success. We show students how to “slash the trash” and “jail the detail.” We spend countless hours having students practice reading a question and selecting the correct multiple choice answer.

We are so focused on having students select the right answer that we have forgotten something. Learning is not about selecting the correct answer. Actually, if we pressure students to always find the correct answer, we may unintentionally inhibit learning–producing the opposite of what we wanted– not more learning, but less.

Real learning is messy. It requires vulnerability. To learn something new, students must be able to risk making a mistake–to jump in and try something.

Yesterday, it finally stopped raining. My daughter proudly steered her big girl bike out of the garage and into the bright sunshine, eager to hop on and give it a go. She strapped on her helmet and jumped on, pedaling slowly at first but gradually picking up speed until her long hair blew in the wind. After a few laps around the driveway, she took a turn too sharply and fell down hard. She laid in the grass and cried. We hugged her as she brushed the dirt off of her scraped knees. Then we discussed how not to fall off next time around the curve, and she got back on to try again.

bike

She strapped on her helmet and jumped on, pedaling slowly at first but gradually picking up speed until her long hair blew in the wind.

Learning is like this. The student, whether young or old, is the bike-rider. They can’t be so concerned with doing it right (or choosing the correct answer) that they aren’t able to get on the bike and try to peddle. They also have to trust that if they try to move forward and make a mistake or fall, someone will be there to hug them, coach them, dry their tears, and help them get back on the bike.

Because getting back on the bike after the big fall is where the learning occurs– when we think about what we did wrong and learn from those mistakes. Teachers have to be permitted, once again, to create an environment in their classroom where mistakes are allowed– a climate of trust, where students know that if they fall or fail at their first attempt the teacher will be there to coach them back onto the bike.

Teachers who are constantly pressured and stressed about achieving certain scores can not create the environment necessary for cultivating real learning. When a student fails, they will be inclined to rush them along, discipline, or criticize. But students who are afraid of failing or discouraged don’t truly learn.

Do students need to know how to pass a test? Yes! Does there need to be accountability? Certainly! But for so long in education we have emphasized product over process. By teaching students to select the correct answer on a test, we have paralyzed many of our highest achieving students and incapacitated our most effective teachers, by telling them they must be right, at all costs. They learn to play it safe, to try to look smart instead of taking a risk in the service of real learning.

As a result we are failing. We are producing students who may or may not be able to select the correct answer on a multiple choice test but are ill-equipped for the work world where questions rarely come with answer choices, critical thinking is a life-skill, and failure at something is almost a guarantee. And when that failure comes, it will be be devastating because we are teaching students that learning is about perfect scores when really it’s about growth.

My daughter is still not a perfect bike-rider. She will probably not fall on that curve again, but there are bigger curves and hills ahead. My wish for her is that her teachers are rebels and that as her parents we can continue to nurture her sense of curiosity and adventure so that her will to jump on the bike and explore what’s out there is always greater than her fear of falling.


-Nina Parrish, M.Ed.
Owner | Parrish Learning Zone, LLC
540-999-8759

                                       ~Nina

Nina Parrish, M. Ed.

Nina Parrish, M. Ed.

Co-Owner and Director of Education

Proud mom of two adorable girls. Teacher who has developed an education business that started at a kitchen table and has grown into a thriving small business... Click here to Learn more about Nina.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

What do I do if my child doesn’t know a sound when we are reading together?

What do I do if my child doesn’t know a sound when we are reading together?

How Do We Prepare for the Upcoming School Year When We Don’t Know What It’s Going to Look Like? Part III

How Do We Prepare for the Upcoming School Year When We Don’t Know What It’s Going to Look Like? Part III

How Do We Prepare for the Upcoming School Year When We Don’t Know What It’s Going to Look Like? Part II

How Do We Prepare for the Upcoming School Year When We Don’t Know What It’s Going to Look Like? Part II

How Do We Prepare for the Upcoming School Year When We Don’t Know What It’s Going to Look Like?

How Do We Prepare for the Upcoming School Year When We Don’t Know What It’s Going to Look Like?

Featured in Various Media Outlets Around the Country.

Parent Approved

Trusted By Local Parents

 

Ms Brown was wonderful with tutoring my child in Algebra ll.
Pam Cantrell Burton
Pam Cantrell Burton
2020-10-14T16:15:51+0000
Parrish Learning Zone helped my daughter with on-line SAT and college essay preparation. She not only scored in the top 90 percentile on the SAT after working with Lauren Cannavo, she especially benefited from the tutoring she received for her admission essays. My daughter was accepted at Notre Dame, UVA, William and Mary, and received scholarships to George Washington University and the University of Alabama. She was initially deferred at the University of Chicago and waitlisted at University of Michigan and Emory University. She eventually chose not to remain on the waitlists and committed to UVA.Lauren also advised our daughter regarding her submission of a 20 page essay on community service for DECA, a high school business club. Our daughter, along with her partner, won second place in her category at the DECA state competitions in 2019 and 2020, and received second place at the DECA international competition in 2019.Lauren was not only a top-notch professional, she really cared about our daughter and was so pleased about her accomplishments. We are so very grateful to her and Parrish Learning Zone.
Marijayne Kruus
Marijayne Kruus
2020-05-11T21:51:37+0000
My daughter has a math learning disability and hated math. We started working with Nina Parrish and stuck with it for several months. Her grades have improved, but more importantly, so has her self confidence. She now loves going to work on math and will even work on it at home by herself. We are grateful for Parrish Learning Zone!
Laura Ellis
Laura Ellis
2018-12-14T14:36:43+0000
Mr. Chaves is an extremely gifted chemistry teacher. It's such a difficult subject--my son was drowning by the time we found PLZ. This was truly a last ditch effort on our part. Mr. Chaves was able to turn that ship around after only 4 lessons and my son passed the SOL! He was able to distill difficult concepts in a way that made them comprehensible and he was patient and kind and gave my son the confidence to succeed. His actual eacher expressed surprise and made a point of telling him he didn't know how he did it but he was impressed. It takes a gifted teacher to get results like that.I only wish we'd found PLZ and Mr. Chaves in the beginning of the school year.
Wendy Zelazny
Wendy Zelazny
2018-06-08T02:05:15+0000
Highly Recommend
Anne Kater Reeves
Anne Kater Reeves
2018-06-07T22:46:05+0000
I highly recommend Parrish Learning Zone. My daughter was able to achieve the SAT score she was aiming for with the help of her Math (Mr. James Slane) and English (Mrs. Lauren Cannavo) tutors. Not only did they help her with practice tests but they also boosted her confidence in taking the SAT. The owners (Nina and Jay) were always prompt in answering my emails. They are very accommodating and worked around my daughter’s schedule (thank you Shiela for all your help in finding available dates for my daughter to meet with her tutors). Thank you Parrish Learning Zone for helping my daughter achieve her goal!
Beth Yankovich
Beth Yankovich
2018-03-23T20:29:18+0000
I can't say enough good things about Parrish Learning Zone. My son has historically suffered from low reading comprehension. I felt he needed a little extra help so I contacted Parrish Learning Zone. The owners at Parrish matched my son with the perfect tutor for him, they developed a rapport almost immediately. He is now in 8th grade and doing well in all his classes. My son is very active in school sports and the staff at Parrish are always very accommodating. They always reschedule with no problems. My son even likes to go early to chat with Sheila.
Beth Kent
Beth Kent
2017-11-08T18:59:11+0000
Awesome! Very structured and student focused - they identified the areas of weakness and turned those into areas of strength in a very short amount of time. I loved the communication from the tutor and the company. I received a specific report of my child's tutoring session including improvements and areas that needed continued work. I received reminders of upcoming tutor sessions - which I needed!! I felt the individual attention and service was worth every penny AND found the prices to be much more reasonable that other tutors in the area. I would HIGHLY recommend Parrish Learning Zone to any parent that needs to find highly competent tutoring help for their child. Parrish is simply the best!
Michele Hiltbrunner Freemyers
Michele Hiltbrunner Freemyers
2017-03-14T15:53:50+0000
An excellent place to take your kids for any tutoring needs! PLZ is a very personalized and hands on service! Both of my teenage boys have been through here for various reasons and I know we will continue to make use of them!
Tammy Elms Mosco
Tammy Elms Mosco
2016-06-02T12:20:59+0000
SAT Prep Course with Parish Learning is definitely a worthwhile invest !!...My son's scores improved over 200 plus points!!
Janice Boles
Janice Boles
2014-12-02T22:34:32+0000
I am extremely thankful to Parrish Learning Zone. I have a son that is a freshman in college majoring in mechanical engineering. I am so glad that we found out about the Parrish Learning Zone because they were very caring and really worked hard around my sons high school football schedule to ensure that he received all of the needed instruction in order to do well on the SAT testing. It was a great investment for his future. I believe this experience prepared my son for the transition to college life. He was able to attend a top engineering college and to play football there. My daughter is a senior in high school now and was admitted into two of the top ranked public schools in Virginia. She will be a freshman at one of these schools next year. She also was enrolled in the Parrish Learning Zone for preparation for the SAT. I am again thankful to the Parrish Learning Zone and feel that this was a great long term investment into their futures. I would strongly recommend the Parrish Learning Zone to anyone looking for an environment that offers a caring and knowledgeable approach to educating students. They are the best.
Angela Jackson
Angela Jackson
2014-05-15T00:39:39+0000
Andrew Powers
Andrew Powers
2014-02-09T12:32:29+0000

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!