Could showing students this video possibly improve learning outcomes? Social behaviors? Overall self-efficacy?

I must first thank Kelly Tenkely for sharing this video on her blog, which is where I stumbled upon it.

After watching this video, I thought about its possible classroom implications.  I was curious to see if I could leverage this video to help further move my students in a positive trajectory.

As I considered all of this, I thought about what my fifth graders needed to understand after watching it.  So, I had them answer the following:

  • How long did it take the engineer to unlearn how to ride a normal bike?
  • How long did it take his son?
  • After all the time and effort in learning how to ride a backward bicycle, how long did it take the engineer to be able to ride a normal bike again?

Once we all understood the answers to these questions, we were able to get to the good stuff, such as:

Based on what we saw in the video, why do you think it’s so important to learn and practice positive ways to think and do things at an early age?

It wasn’t too difficult for them to understand that it will be very difficult to unlearn negative ways to think and do things as they get older.

We discussed some of these things:

  • staying organized
  • giving your best
  • not quitting
  • positive self-talk
  • treating others kindly
  • not procrastinating

There were others, but I was able to connect the video to the idea that every time we, for instance, give up or hand in poor quality work, we are literally coding it into our brains, making it more likely that we’ll do it again, and making it increasingly difficult to retrain ourselves to do otherwise.

And remember how long it took the engineer to fall back into riding a regular bike again?  Well, this shows that once we’ve strongly coded a way to think or do things, even if we spend months/years learning how to do otherwise, we can so easily fall back into those old and familiar patterns.

Are epiphanies and life-changing transformations likely to occur in my students because of this video?  Doubtful.  However, I do believe viewing and discussing powerful content like this – and helping students to better understand how it connects to their daily lives – can serve as a strong example to refer back to as we seek to help move them in the right direction.