To continue on Piaget, motivation, guided discovery, "best professional work", etc.:
One of my most pleasant experiences (oh, I do love to go on about the successes
) involved a group from Australia who didn't really want a lesson at all. They had been at the resort for several days, and their package included lessons, so they had gotten several hours of teaching daily. This was their last day.
They wanted some new terrain, and maybe a few tips. It was a powder day, so they wanted some terrain that wasn't all skied out, but they were intermediate skiers, so the choices had to be easily accessible and not too steep. As you might expect, finding places that meet these requirements at a major ski area on a powder day could be difficult. In addition, their tour guide from New York city was along, and she was easily the weakest skier of the bunch (why do tour companies do this??).
What was important here was not skill development. What was important was to put a nice dollop of whipped cream on their vacation! I wanted 'em to go home happy! And if they were able to do something they'd never done before, they'd be happier.
Well, it worked out, or I wouldn't be giving you all this blather. In the process, I had to ask almost exactly the question Steve brought up that got me started today: "I think we can try this, because I think that you can handle it. What do you think?"
I had to modify it, though. I had to tell the tour leader that her group could handle it, but that she might struggle. We had a short group conference, they decided to go for it, I stayed with the tour leader on the way down, and they all arrived at the lodge tired but happy. Yes, she flailed on the way down - but her clients did something they wouldn't have done otherwise, and were happier for it.