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Classroom Alchemy: Entering the "Flow"

Classroom Alchemy: Entering the 'Flow'

Captivated students, eclipsed time: the magical moment when the class enters the "zone".

You know, that moment when all the students start working.

Absorbed in their activity.
Focused on their task.
Motivated by the result to come.
Even for disruptive or struggling students.

In these moments, I think, "We've made it, we're there." The class is in this zone, in this unique atmosphere where an alchemy is created.

There are these students in great difficulty, happy to "paint."

In reality, they are learning to draw straight lines with a ruler using a pencil, then with a marker. Then, with precision, they will alternate ink colors on each created area.

There are these spring-loaded students, tirelessly running around in the motor skills room.

In reality, they are learning to copy words from a distance by memorizing each letter.

To occasionally reach "the zone," I've learned to know my students and take some liberties. Is it that bad if some students practice painting a bit more? Is it that bad if students do "too much music"?

Of course, one might think that by doing music, they learn nothing else but music. As if students were not then learning to articulate, to recognize rhymes, to learn vocabulary, or to respect visual and written codes...

Our students have many long years of school ahead of them. If they manage to love coming to school thanks to these moments, it's a significant victory.

Now, no naivety, being sometimes "in the zone" never guarantees a dream day. There will always be those students to watch like a hawk. And who can explode with 2 seconds of inattention...

Sometimes, it's not possible. Because they are exhausted. Because we are exhausted. Because there is that "impossible" student. Because we don't do a one-man show 6 hours a day. Or because there are too many students in some places.

Nevertheless, we have control over certain aspects to occasionally reach "the zone" or the "flow" (Csikszentmihalyi).