Flaufle Ball: Learning How to Learn

By:  Staci Stallings

Okay.  This morning we are going to play Flaufle Ball.  I’m going to give you this grabber and this little oval ball.  Now. I will stand over here.  Are you ready?  Great!  Let’s play!

Oh.  What?

You don’t know how to play flaufle ball?

Well, sure you do.  It’s easy.  Trust me.  You’ll learn as we go.  Are you ready now?  Great.  Let’s play.

What?  You still don’t know how to play.  What do you mean?  I already told you, it’s easy…

So, are you frustrated with me yet?  I’m frustrated with me, and I’m not even you!

The problem with how I’m attempting to “teach you” is that I’m expecting you to know everything I know about Flaufle Ball without explaining anything, right?

Really it’s not hard to see the problem with “teaching” like this except that we try to do this to each other and to ourselves every day.  But the thing is, no one can learn like this.

To learn to do anything new, you must go through 5 steps:  Watch, Listen, Question, Practice, Learn.  If you skip a step, it will be much harder to learn whatever it is you are trying to do.

If you wanted to learn to play flaufle ball (which is not a real game by the way), first it would be helpful to watch others play it.  Go to a few games or watch it on TV.  My nephew used to do this when he was very young — like 2 years old.  He would sit in his living room and intently watch baseball.  Then he would take his tiny hands and mimic what the players were doing.  He would get books on how to play sports and look at the pictures and then try it.  Is it any wonder the kid is a phenomenal sports player at 15?

The second component in learning to do something well is to listen.  You get a coach or a teacher who is good at it, and you listen to them.  When they tell you to choke up on your grip, or put your elbow down, or hold the ball like this… LISTEN!  If you don’t, you will never correct what you are doing wrong and you will stay at the level where you are indefinitely.

The next component is to question.  This is where learning often breaks down in an authoritarian classroom.  The teacher says to do it, and the students are supposed to do it without asking questions, but that does not work.  A student or anyone learning something new MUST be given the chance to ask questions.  If I tell you this is a compound-complex sentence and I can’t tell you why, that doesn’t help you at all.  But if I can explain it and you can work with it enough to understand it, then you have my knowledge and can use it for yourself.

However, in order to know what to question, you have to try it for yourself.  You have to do it a few times (or a few thousand).  As you do it, you will come up against issues that you will need further guidance with.  “Why do you do it like that?”  “How do I use this kind of sentence?”  “When I throw it, I’m not getting the power behind the throw like I need.  How do I get that power?”  Practice is essential.  I can tell you how to do it all day long. I can draw diagrams of the field or the sentence.  I can explain the rules of the game and the strategies of the game, but if you never get to practice it for yourself, it is simply head-knowledge and nothing else.

When you put all of these elements together, real learning takes place.  Learning is not a one-shot, one-time thing.  Learning is a process.  In fact, it is doing the other four elements over and over and over again.  You watch, you listen, you question, you do, you learn.

This process can be applied to reading, sports, music… even spirituality and life.  Tune in next time to find out how!

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