An experience of Flow.

  • Set room out with different opportunities for Flow experiences. There is Play-Doh, Lego, Jenga and paper aeroplane instruction books in the well-being store (see IRM). Consider inviting kids to bring in things like musical instruments too. Avoid things like laptops/games, which artificially engineer higher levels of engagement.
  • Give students half an hour to get lost in doing one or more of these things and give them no instructions (so that they are intrinsically motivated to do what they are doing).

Understanding Flow.

  • Ask students if any of them became bored during that time? Why was that? Introduce the idea that boredom arises when there isn’t enough challenge; anxiety arises when the challenge is too great for our skill and Flow arises when our ability and the difficulty of the challenge are perfectly matched.
  • What is flow? Using info, help students to develop a conceptual understanding of flow and understand the 8 ingredients of a flow experience. There is more detail here in this extract from Csikszentmihalyi’s book ‘Flow’.
  • There are two videos to illustrate flow in action. One clip is from the film Kes where Casper talks about flying Kes. In the clip, he goes from boredom (low challenge), to anxiety (high challenge), to Flow (perfect challenge and skill).
  • The second clip is of Ayrton Senna at the 1988 Monte Carlo Grand Prix, talking about achieving a spiritual state of flow.

Reflecting on Flow.

  • When do the students experience flow in their lives? Ask them to work in pairs to describe a flow experience to each other.
  • Ask students to work together to develop advice for each other on how to find and build flow whilst learning.

Prep: Ask pupils to notice moments of flow between lessons and write about them. What was the task? Who else was there? How did they feel? Alternatively, try to generate flow experiences using understanding of the 8 ingredients and write about how well it went.