Will over Skill
December 1, 2016

Any Caps fans out there? Personally, I am not a sports fan, regardless of the sport – but my husband will watch anything with a team and a ball (or puck). Earlier this week, as I read (okay, maybe I was actually watching something on Netflix) in the next room, I overheard a sportscast talking about the Washington Capitals’ new motto – Will Over Skill. The sportscaster was explaining that the desire to do you best can be the winning ticket.

Dr. Paul Zehr, a professor of Neuroscience and Kinesiology at the University of Victoria in Canada states that “we can do more than we think if we try harder and work to exceed our limits.” Of course, as early childhood educators, our goal is not to push children to their utmost limits everyday, but by scaffolding their learning, we are, in fact, encouraging them to push themselves a little bit at a time. By building their self-confidence, children are more likely to keep trying harder. We are perpetuating a “Can-Do” mindset by showing them that they really CAN do it. Dr. Zehr referred to the phenomenon of record-breaking in athletics. Once a long standing record was broken, it became easier to break it again. CAN DO!

Children, while not yet the elite athletes of tomorrow, need to feel like they can succeed. Once they know that, and see how rewarding it is, they are more likely to try harder. This also teaches children that hard work does pay off – and helps to develop a stronger reliance on intrinsic motivation, rather than extrinsic motivation. While success relies on some of both, strong intrinsic motivation is longer lasting – it will keep fueling the desire to learn. At Harbor, we strive to grow lifelong learners, and to do that, we must remember that the will to learn can often outplay skill.

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