Have you ever wondered when we become an expert at something? I remember a summer in University, while playing soccer for the UVIC Vikes, that I would practice juggling tricks with the soccer ball when I wasn’t working or at practice: catch a ball on my foot, catch a ball on my shoulder, and catching a ball on my back. I can still remember an outfield player (I was a goalie), during a practice in the fall, coming up to me: “Wow keeper, you’ve got better moves than most strikers!”.
Through this repetitive practice over a summer, I had become somewhat of an expert in juggling a soccer ball. This did not mean I had an expert ability to teach it to someone else. In addition, I was aware of meaningful patterns of the flight of the ball to determine when it was reasonable to do a trick and when it wasn’t. How could metacognition in this physical activity (furthermore in classroom activities) contribute to the successful understanding of a concept or idea?
For my own teaching practice, in a 7-12 school and postsecondary environment, I am more aware of the importance of empathy when considering helping someone that doesn’t understand a concept or teaching. By experiencing instances of challenge to simple tasks (e.g. writing with your non-dominant hand, playing sports with non-dominant hand), teachers can experience, in safe environments, feelings that struggling learners go through.
Questions for future discovery: In what ways is it beneficial for a teacher to be attune to the feelings of students within a challenging task? At what point is an expert an expert? What conditions have to be met?