Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Letting our kids be wrong - Wile E. Coyote

It is not how often we are right, but how frequently we dare to challenge ourselves and perhaps be wrong that makes it possible to allow true creativity to remain alive and well in our classrooms. 

Kathryn Schulz shares an outstanding and really funny analogy in a TED talk about the power of being wrong.  She makes the fine but essential distinction between 'being wrong' and 'realizing you are wrong'.  To illustrate this difference she takes her audience back to a familiar scene from the 'Road Runner' cartoons.  Wile E. Coyote chasing the Road Runner off a cliff, close to catching him, runs quite securely through the air until he looks down and realizes the trouble he's gotten himself into. 

Our young students are given the opportunity to be wrong without punishment, so that they are able to boldly explore the unfamiliar and arrive to actual discovery.  Wile E. Coyote unfortunately was mentally unable to reflect on his failed experiments, so he was only able to accomplish half of what we can... on the positive side though, even his precipitous failures were unable to stop him from pursuing his delicious goal!

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