A TASIS Education – An Opportunity to Find Lifelong Engagement and Flow

Image: Avra V. (Grade 12) Capsule, Drawing Ink on Paper - 2020

By Jason Tait (April 29)

Enjoyment appears at the boundary between boredom and anxiety,
when the challenges are just balanced with the person's capacity to act.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Every one of our students is different and they all find enjoyment in different things whether it’s playing an instrument, playing a sport, dancing, working on an interesting project, or even just a hobby. Engagement in these activities in the lives of our students is important for them to learn, grow, and nurture their personal happiness.

When our students are fully engaged in an activity they are absorbed, interested, and enjoying themselves; and this is a vital part of their happiness and well-being.

We know that engagement is important to our well-being from the research of psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. He interviewed hundreds of people who are so engaged in life that they get “lost in their work” – this included artists, musicians, sportspeople, and actors. What he discovered was that being able to enter the “Flow state” increased happiness. The term “Flow” came about because many of the people interviewed described their experiences being like "a water current carrying them along."

Other phrases people use to describe Flow are:

  • Being "In the zone"
  • Being "on a roll"
  • Feeling "at one with the music"
  • "Time standing still"
  • Feeling "on fire"

An important part of creating Flow is finding a good balance between your skill level and the level of challenge. When you experience Flow you can feel stretched, but not stressed, because your skills are balanced with the challenge. If there is too much challenge you can feel anxious; and if the task isn't challenging enough, you can feel bored.

A great place at TASIS for our students to experience flow and engagement in abundance is in the Art Department. Dr. Watson, chair of the TASIS England Art Department, and Ms. Morris, US and MS art teacher, explain why:

“What do students like about art? Many tell me that creating things makes them feel different compared to other subjects. They know they are learning and find some things really challenging, but the learning is happening in a different way – a way that results in a deep satisfaction, a lasting sense of achievement and often joy. I wonder if this is because students become absorbed in the process of what they are doing, whether it be a painting, a sculpture, or a digital piece. Perhaps it’s because they are not just focusing on an outcome or working to a formula that leads them to create something utterly personal that no one else can.”

Unsurprisingly Mrs. Fleming knew and understood the value and importance of engaging in your learning journey and finding and feeding the passions of TASIS students:

“For me a love of literature, the arts, and the performing arts is the heart and soul of education, for it grows throughout our entire lifetime, keeping alive the excitement of learning, creating constant enrichment in our leisure hours and throughout our golden years.”

Speech, 1993