Modeling to Build Safety
Over Christmas I was hanging out with my 6 yr old friend, Layton.
After a few minutes of scrolling through my Instagram feed, looking at all of the awesome things people were learning in our Anti-Talent Show, Layton decided he wanted in on the action.
I showed him the classic coin snatching trick…
He ran into his room, gave his piggy bank a few shakes, and returned with a shiny quarter – ready to learn.
Attempt #1 – quarter slid off his elbow before the arm swing.
Attempt #2 – quarter stayed on his elbow but flew across the room during arm swing.
Attempt #3 – total miss again
Attempt #4 – there was no attempt #4.
“This is stupid,” he said as he joined me back on the couch.
My bro was feeling the resistance that we ALL meet when we learn something new:
Talking, coaching, and convincing him to keep trying wasn’t working – so I pulled out my laptop and showed him this video:
Layton’s eyes didn’t leave the screen as he watched Mike Boyd stumble his way through the learning process.
As soon as the video was done – before I could even say a word – Layton picked up the quarter and started practicing…
Within a few minutes (30 or so attempts) he was catching the quarter. Soon he was pushing the envelope – stacking coins, trying both arms at the same time, and piling up pistachios on his elbow.
A complete 180 from just 8 minutes earlier.
I think that this shows us how two important principles of learning (modeling and safety) often work together.
Mike modeled the learning process to Layton. Watching the video reminded him that it takes time, effort, and lots of struggle to learn something new.
This created a safe environment for learning, where Layton thrived. He was more open to the mistakes and struggle because he watched someone else move through the process.
Daniel Coyle’s latest masterpiece The Culture Code outlines this concept. He shows us how important safety is and how the best groups actually build it into their culture. I don’t have the words to describe how important I think this book is – find a way to get your hands on it.
Learning is hard, messy, and scary
Modeling the process can build safety
When we feel safe, we are more likely to try and persist
In other news, not only did Layton master the art of quarter snatching – he also caught the elusive Elf on a Shelf on camera!!