T&D: Formal & Informal Practice & Feedback

Poor Practice Leads to Poorer Performance

A few weeks ago I took the dog and my two youngest grandsons to the local Skate Park.

They brought their Scooters and played around under the hot sun while I sat in some shade on the mini-bleachers with the dog.

There were 4 other people there – so there was plenty of room for a 10 and 11 year old in the midst of some older teenagers on skateboards with skinned arms and knees.


A couple of the older teenagers took a break and one’s mother stepped into the picture, mentioning that her son had just graduated from High School. The older boy talked about his HS and then they started talking about boards, and skate parks. Our skate park is new – and they were talking about how it compared to other skate parks in our geography.


Then, as the older boy was showing the younger boy how to do a certain trick, the older one remarked to the mother about how “just last week” he had witnessed a 30 year old boarder stop to show a 5 year old how to do a certain move. And how cool that was. That people at some parks wouldn’t do that – but at our park they did.

He described in detail the instructions provided to the 5 year old. It was step-by-step. With lots of corrective and reinforcing feedback. It lasted 15-20 minutes.

The older boarder taught skateboarding for a local shop that sold everything you needed, I overheard. That older guy told the parent that what the kid was doing was wrong and asked permission to provide a little instruction.

Was it Formal or Informal Learning that the 30 year old provided to the 5 year old?

Or, on what end of the Informal-Formal continuum was it?

It was a basic move.

Something that most skate boarders learn Effectively – Informally – Eventually.

Something that could be learned Effectively – more Formally – with greater Efficiency.

That was the gist of his message to the mother and why she should continue to bring this son and her other younger sons to this park. People here share.

Of course, I made a mental note about it all.

For sharing in this Blog Post – my Informal, Serendipitous Learning.

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