So my youngest daughter is learning to drive. Actually, she is scheduled to get her license. Soon. Over the weekend, I took her to a parking lot so she could practice her parking.
"I have to line up my shoulders to the center of the spot," she informed me. "Then I turn the wheel all the way."
Each parking job was an accomplishment. Seriously.
How about just learning what the car does when you maneuver it, I wanted to say. I didn't though.
Instead, I went home and watched the videos from The Next Street driving school that offered new drivers precise instructions on lining up shoulders, watching lines in side mirrors, and assuming backward posture.
I woke up early this morning and couldn't go back to sleep, as I was thinking about a million different things including what I'd write for today's post. In the clutter of thoughts, I remembered a conversation I had on a hallway floor with Kate Roberts at the annual NCTE conference a couple, maybe even a few, years ago. Katherine Bomer's book, A Journey of Thought, had just come out, and I was really struggling with the concepts of the five paragraph essay.
"We need a structure when we're learning new things," I remember Kate saying. "Then we can experiment and make it our own."
My older daughte reminded me that she needed the parking methodology when she first started driving. "I don't need it anymore," Clare said. "Now I just park."
So much of learning requires a structure. We just have to make sure we get learners to that place where, like Clare and parking, they don't need it and just do it.