Monday, October 10, 2011

in the 'flow'

I have been reading quite a bit about Mihal Csikszentmihalyi's work on 'flow theory.' A person is in a state of 'flow' when they are completely absorbed in the moment, free from distraction and constraints of time. I became interested in this because it is in these states of engagement where creation and innovation takes place. An artist could not create without being completely absorbed in the process of creating, just as a scientist could not innovate, and an author could not write without these moments. We've all experienced such moments, where we are completely taken over by our curiosity and engage it. This is what life is about, being actively engaged in wondering, tinkering, making, and doing.

From an education perspective this directly relates to student engagement, optimal learning environments, and the pursuit of engaging wonder and letting it take children wherever it may. To read more about the theory, read  here. 

The images below are from a day that we introduced the light table as a space for creating art. the calm focus, deliberate mark making, and engagement were present in the facial expressions and movements of each child. How do we, as educators, encourage moments like these? Does our education system value this type of engagement? Is it even valuable?

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