How Do We Learn to Ride Bikes? 

This post is inspired by a discussion at #edcampham over the weekend as well as a real personal example I’m living right now. My oldest son is 6 years old and learning how to ride a bike. I put a helmut on him, gave him a few basics, helped him coast and said go! My wife has a slightly different approach and helps him slowly never letting go of the seat and never letting him fall.

This bike riding analogy is great for teaching and correcting errors. When students are making errors in math do we correct them right away so they don’t reinforce an incorrect concept or do we let them fall and figure out on their own the mistakes they were making, after a certain number of trials?

I do know this, the solution is probably a combination of both approaches depending on a variety of circumstances at that given time. I also believe students need to be asked questions to discover mistakes, not be told. Students need to reflect on math thinking and be given time to talk about math, exploring and sharing with others.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic, (and please don’t say who has the better parenting style LOL). Thanks for reading.