The longer that I teach, the more that I think that this quote is stupid:
I’m completely in love with the idea of feedback loops. I really think that THAT’s where learning happens. My favourite part of the loop, however, is the second chance. If there’s no chance to improve, then how will you apply your learning? How will learners ever have a chance to improve?
Last summer I undertook a really stupid project. I had a garage in the back of my house. It was rotting, and I decided to tear it down and build a new one. Seemed easy. I had two months in the summer to build a big box. So, I grabbed some friends and we got to work. I got in WAY over my head.
I soon realized that I hate learning 😉
Not really. What I hated was starting from scratch. Everything was new and everything was frustrating. I had to rely on people. I had to ask questions. I had to read. Many lessons were painful on two levels. My body hurt. My ego hurt.
BUT… I learned SO much.
I learned by messing things up and taking second, third fourth chances. I learned by people telling me what was wrong, and then trying to improve my work. It was an authentic, real-world feedback loop.
When I hear comments related to “no second chances” at school they make me cringe. There really are second chances in life. In fact, second chances are what make us better people. They make us smarter, kinder, stronger.
When it comes to school, I really believe that we’ve been given an opportunity to create a learning utopia. We’ve been given a chance to provide feedback loops and second chances. This learning happens in a safe and controlled environment. If students are never able to take a re-test, then how are they ever going to be able to learn from mistakes that really matter?