As educational pedagogy evolves...
we step into a new era of student led learning. Students are invited to take risks, to fail, and to find creative solutions to the problems given to them. We live in a world where challenges have become much more complex whether they are academic, economic, environmental or social. It is clear that individuals must learn the skills of critical thinking, complex problem solving, and persistence in order to be successful in the future. In 2010, IBM released a survey of more than 1,500 Chief Executive Officers from 60 countries and 33 industries worldwide; stating that the most sought after quality in a future employee is creativity.
Because there is no coach, manual or textbook, self-directed learning is something skateboarders have understood for decades. The ability to try, fail and persist in order to master a trick or adapt to a new obstacle has become second nature to a seasoned skateboarder. At times, the skater must try something upward of a few hundred times, with the addition of physical consequences, in order to land a maneuver or ride away from a challenging obstacle. Skateboarders view the world around them through an abstract filter of creativity. The physical space around them is a playground in which they solve the issue of getting a 7 ply, 32 inch piece of plywood in and around obstacles, down a set of stairs, onto a handrail, or to flip in a specific way under their feet.
Skateboarding has and continues to promote community among its participants. It is not about beating a competitor or being the best. Instead skateboarders set personal goals based on the influence and abilities of those around them.
Engagement of students through physical activity continues to become more difficult in a media filled society with varying socio-economic, cultural, and social backgrounds. Skateboarding continues to attract children and youth that may be viewed as “hard to engage” or even “at risk.” There are no league fees, registration process, and the cost of basic equipment is low, skateboarding is an accessible activity for most. With very little parent and adult supervision or involvement, skateboarding has attracted adult weary youth who may struggle with authority figures. The importance of positive role models within skateboarding and their mentorship of youth cannot be overstated. A school based skateboard program is a way of connecting adults and hard to reach youth in a positive and meaningful way. It promotes healthy living through physical activity that requires an incredible amount of balance, muscle control, agility and hand eye co-ordination.
In short, skateboarding promotes creativity, complex problem solving, persistence, and self-directed learning; all of which are qualities promoted within progressive educational pedagogy. It creates community and engages students while promoting a healthy and active lifestyle. The intention of this course is not to offer students a manual to teach them a progression of tricks but to give an outlet for physical activity and creativity while promoting the qualities necessary to be a successful life-long learner.