I wrote my first reflective writing in PIDP 3250 on the Flow theory concept. This is the quote that grabbed my attention from our textbook:
“Csikszentmihalyi’s (1993,1997) concept of “flow” describes states of deep intrinsic motivation that sound a lot like deep engagement. He proposes that when we experience flow, action and awareness merge. We are so absorbed in the task at hand that irrelevant stimuli disappear from consciousness, and worries and concerns are temporarily suspended. We lose track of time; in fact, it seems to pass faster. The activity becomes autotelic, or worth doing for its own sake (pp. 13).”
Reading this quote took me back to my childhood. I spent a memorable part of the summer after grade five reading Eclipse of the Crescent Moon by Geza Gardonyi which was our school’s summer reading recommendation. The siege of Eger, a beyond beautiful town in Hungary, in 1552 was an astonishing event. The story was an exciting tale of chivalry and love, adventures and disaster, heroes and villains, culminating in the siege itself. Gardonyi’s story, a convincing blend of history and fiction, has become a Hungarian literary classic and a firm favourite with adults and children alike. I hesitantly started to read the 550 page novel. It was a daunting task at first. I started to read right after lunch and the next thing I knew, my mom was calling me for dinner! As a child I did not understand, how time could escape without a trace. The summer’s recommended read was avoided for as long as possible. But after my first experience with deep engagement, the intrinsic motivation arrived. The dreadful summer read graduated to being a goal. The decision was made to do it and the ability surfaced. The next day I continued reading simply because I wanted to. I could hardly wait for school to re-open to team up with other students for discussions of the adventures this great book had taken us on.
Although this event of the summer after grade five stuck in my brain I did not have a clear explanation as to what happened and why I still remember it so vividly.
When I learned, we would be discussing the Flow theory I was looking forward to see my classmates opinions. I have learned from them that to achieve flow in a classroom setting is extremely challenging. As a teacher or instructor it is difficult to find the perfect balance between anxiety and boredom in order to provide the students with the opportunity to experience flow. However, once it is achieved,the flow provides time and space for students to accomplish something they never knew was possible.
Gardonyi, G. (1967). Egri Csillagok.
Budapest, Szepirodalmi Konyvkiado
English translation by George F. Cushing (1991). Geza Gardonyi, Eclipse of the Crescent Moon
ISBN: 963 13 3372 8