Please follow Seth Godin's Blog http://sethgodin.typepad.com He provides great parallel thinking opportunities for educators, and the latest that sparks my interest talked about "How Big is Your Red Zone?"
How big is your red zone?
Redzone Every activity worth doing has a learning curve. Riding a bike, learning to read, using Facebook... the early days are rarely nothing but fun.
Take a look at this three part chart. The first shows how much joy someone gets out of an activity. Over time, as we discover new things and get better at it, our satisfaction increases. At some point, there's a bump when we get quite good at it, and then, in most activities, it fades because we get bored. (In the top graph I've also added the Dip, showing the extra joy from being an expert, but that's irrelevant to this discussion).
The second graph shows the hassle of that same activity. Riding a bike, for example, is horrible at first. Skinned knees, bruised egos. Twitter is really easy to use the first few times, so not so much red ink there.
The third graph is just the two overlaid. That zone on the left, the red zone, is the gap between the initial hassle and the initial joy. My contention is that the only reason we ever get through that gap is that someone on the other side (the little green circle) is rooting us on, or telling us stories of how great it is on the other side.
The bigger your red zone, the louder your green dot needs to be. Every successful product or passion is either easy to get started on or comes with a built-in motivator to keep you moving until you're in. This is so easy to overlook, because of course you're already in...
This concept applies to everything that we do in education. If we leave kids in the red zone too long, they quit. They get frustrated. They act out. The whole purpose of our job is to help students obtain ideas and understanding at a high level, and this can't be success if we leave them in the red zone. See original post for graphs.