Thursday, September 2, 2010

Differentiated Learning and Parkour

There are a number of ways that parkour is good for teaching and learning at different levels.  Today I thought I would discuss a number of them to highlight the benefits to individuals.  It is worth bearing in mind that good learners who have a good moral foundation will be productive and positive contributors to society, especially noticeable within their local communities and immediate circle of friends.

Everybody who can move is capable of beginning parkour.  Since a large part of the physical side is improving one’s capacity to move, the goals can be infinitely variable and adjusted for any level.  Someone who can jump up one step will seek to improve by jumping two.  Someone who can jump up 5 steps will seek to jump 6.  If someone can only jump to a particular height, they can work on developing the number of times that they can perform that jump without losing their balance on the landing.

Parkour is a gateway to developing one’s ability to learn.  It happens almost by accident.  A person might get sore muscles from over training and wonder why this is.  They have a direct motivation to explore sport science to find out how to avoid excessive pain, and to train their body in the most efficient way.  There is a culture of learning that is inevitable in an online community (as parkour tends to be) with the sharing of advice and tips for improvement and safety.

Safety and steady, measured progression is an important part of parkour, so participants learn to reflect on their progress to make sure they aren’t getting too far ahead for their body to handle.  Socially, participants encourage risk analysis and balancing the risks taken with their goals for progression and long-term physical health.

Not only is it good for learning and teaching in a direct way, indirectly it is also so much fun to do and confidence is easily developed, making parkour a very easy-to-engage-in activity.  I’ve said to a number of people that parkour (and activities like it) that encourage engagement and make it easy for people to learn self-discipline, should be actively supported by governing bodies, schools, and communities.  In this we would see more people developing in their ability to lead productive and positive lives.  Our society would improve as the population better learn to learn, so that they can learn to live and overcome life’s obstacles and hardships, relishing the challenge!