I am reading a fantastic book at the moment titled ‘Creative Confidence’ written by Tom and David Kelley, two brothers who are fascinated with the role that creativity and design thinking play in education. I came across a quote in the book taken from Hungarian essayist Gyorgy Konrad
“Courage is only the accumulation of small steps.”
Why did this stick with me? Well, as a physical educator, often times I see that students fear making mistakes. They fear trying something new or looking foolish should they not be able to immediately master a skill. And with their peers watching there is an extra sense of pressure and urgency to do it right. Certainly not effective grounds for building the confidence that they need to succeed in our classes. What results much of the time is that students either shut down and refuse to participate or they have a dismissive attitude which can be interpreted as them being bored or not caring when in fact this is simply not the case at all.
Gyorgy’s quote makes me reflect on my own pattern of teaching and to ensure that I am constantly creating a warm and inviting environment that allows students to learn at a pace that they can handle, but challenges them at the same time. Getting them to understand that courage is about taking risks and success comes over time, provided effort and determination are ever present. Teaching our students that courage is only the accumulation of small steps will help to alleviate the unnecessary pressure that they may feel which can greatly slow development and learning.