I’m not the least interested in fishing (traumatic childhood experience :), but my wife and kids are. Both kids have tried, but to no avail. Yesterday, our local community was hosting a festival, however, including a fishing clinic. So we signed the kids up. The clinic was arranged with quite a bit to ensure success.
First, they stocked the ‘lake’ (hardly more than a pond). Second, they conducted a class before going out to the water. Then, they provided scaffolded practice in a protected environment. And they ensured a parent attended as well as the kids.
The class was a little late starting, and rambled a bit, but had a very good approach. The presenter was relaxed, and included some chatter, but basically led the learners through the crucial steps to be ready to fish. He talked about tying on a hook, He used a big prop hook and rope to show the principles of tying the hook onto the line. He also talked about principles of things like weights and bobbers, while showing the basics. And had the kids answer questions along the way, to force them to think. There wasn’t divergence into other forms of fishing (e.g. flies), but just a focus on what you need to go. Then they enabled those who didn’t have their own equipment, ensured everyone was ready, and moved out of the room and into the practice environment.
The practice environment was a roped off section of the shoreline, and a net-enclosed section of the lake. There were worms, and cleaning and packing if you caught anything and wanted to keep it. A big deal was made of a big catfish caught earlier in the day. The team of instructors cruised around answering questions and advising if useful.
Our session was in the evening, and things eventually got hot, with two big bass being caught at our end, and something big at the other. Our boy caught a small sunfish (his first fish ever, he was thrilled), and later had a big one that got away. My daughter had one nibble which was lost to an equipment problem. But it couldn’t have been set up much better to optimize the chance to succeed. And we found out it’s stocked year-round, so they can go back and try some more.
It’s a great model to think about for novices who need motivation as well as some key skills. How can you better ensure success and consequent motivation as well as the ability to execute again?