One of the magical things about one-on-one teaching is that it’s easy to keep a student in what educational theorists call their Zone of Proximal Development. I call it your Sweet Spot! If you’re bored, optimal learning is not happening. On the other hand, if you’re stretched so far that you’re freaking out, shutting down, there are tears and much stress, optimal learning is also not happening. Here’s the fun, happy news: when you’re feeling your best learning something, when you’re stretched enough that you’re engaged and inspired but not so much that you’re giving up, it FEELS good, AND that’s when optimal learning is happening. How lucky is that?
So how do we keep a student in that sweet spot? Tune in next week to find out.
For the record,…
Here is a more formal definition of the Zone of Proximal Development: it is the gap between what a student can do independently (what they have Mastered) and what they cannot yet do independently. Skills that are in the gap might have been introduced, and perhaps the student can do them with assistance, but they don’t yet have them mastered. Another way to put it: You’ve got your Actual Development, and your Potential Development, and your Zone of Proximal Development is where skills live when they’re in transition from one to the other.