My first thoughts on this topic was “I have no place writing about educating children” I’m not a teacher and academics is definitely not my area of expertise. But I have coached Kids for the past 18 months and from being certified as a CrossFit Kids Instructor and my 18 months of experience coaching kids, I have learnt a lot. Plus I done a few years at school myself, between the age of 5 and 18.
Coaching Kids is completely different to coaching adults. One difference that I was surprised to learn on my CrossFit Kids course and the importance has been reinforced of over the past 18 months is, we do not correct faults in kids movement. Unlike coaching adults where every rep we are striving to reach excellence, for kids having fun trumps everything. However this his is dependent on the child’s maturity, Teens are more excepting of adult coaching techniques and they handle corrections well. With kids, I could have spent the skill session in a Kids class teaching the squat and kids have nailed it and shown great movement. Then the workout also has squats in it. Little 8 year old Johny is not going to full depth in his squat, to be honest he is just sticking his but back a few inches and then standing up, but he has a great big smile on his face racing with his mate. If it was an adult I would stop them explain what they are doing wrong, show them how low I would like them to squat and watch like a hawk until they are consistently squatting to their full depth. With little Johny I say ” Great job Johny keep up the good work” Then at the next Kids session I put more emphasis into squatting to full depth without highlighting Johny. The reason for this is because I have the next 10 years to teach Johny how to squat, well and consistently. Today all I care about is that Johnny is enjoying exercise. The last thing I want to do is make Johny feel like he is no good at squatting.
I remember back to my first years of school and I loved to write. Writing stories was once one of my favourite things at school, but then at some point I grew to hate it. I dreaded handing in my work to the teacher because I knew it would come back covered in red pen. I was and still am today, a terrible speller. Until adulthood I did not know the difference between there and their, through and threw, your and you’re. I hated being corrected for it and still do. It pisses me off when someone has to correct my spelling excpecially when they know exactly what I mean. As a kid this drove me to hate school work, it made writing no longer fun. Over the past 9 months I have again found a love for writing and I am old enough and mature enough to understand that spelling and punctuation is important. As a kid I was just disappointed to be highlighted by corrections in red pen, after I thought I done such a good job.
I have seen it in the eyes of kids when I have made the mistake to correct them. Sometimes my want for them to move better takes over and I can’t help but give a correction. Like a big red pen from a teacher I see their faces drop and very quickly and they stop enjoying exercise. Just like teaching the air squat to an 8 year old, where it doesn’t matter if it takes 4 years for them to squat without fault. Who cares if your 8 year old child uses there instead of their, as long as they enjoy writing! that’s all that matters.
My tip to to home schooling parents is, no matter what your kid hands over tell them they have done a great job and to keep up the good work. Your correction my lead to them dropping out of home school and a correction is not teaching it is correcting, teach them.