Bike riding

Just to record the way in which parental (and grandparental) roles shift when teaching someone to ride a bike. “Liberty Hall at Granny’s House” is sometimes (not always) the order of the day, but the relationship shifts when a definite and complex set of tasks are to be undertaken, as in helping Maisy to get to grips with her bike. The need to keep her on task and not downhearted (and preferably relatively uninjured) is compounded by the need to help her succeed – in itself part of keeping her buoyant. Given how learning to ride a bike has a number of components that need to be mastered (balance, steering, pedalling – and to that I might add holding on, using the brakes), it is hard to make some small, achievable steps that are real and build to a sub-set of the skills of successful bike-riding.

Her progress is steady, she is doing well – but it is not easy. Falls are hard, and the effort from all of us is tiring. Lunch and Shaun the Sheep were an important punctuation.

And then this link reminds me of how many children have already had the Time Out of Time Outs in being excluded, as indicated by this DfE report. I just wonder how many of these exclusions had, somewhere along the line, a failure from a practitioner to recognise the complexity of a task, or how tired the day was making child or grown-up? This isn’t to join some line of people blaming the adults, or to suggest that everything must always go at the pace a child thinks is appropriate, but just perhaps

when we think about a piece of learning, should we ask

  • does it need breaking down any further?
  • what implications are there for adults’ time and energy?
  • how can a  break in the learning look like a success, not a retreat?



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