Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Learning by taking risks

I was talking this afternoon to Miss E's prep teacher.

We are blessed with the sort of teacher that you dream of getting for your child. She is well read. She is enthusiastic. She is talented. She acts crazy at times.

Her goal for prep is to get our children to be confident in themselves, love school and learn to love to learn. That's it.

That said - I know the curriculum has been expanded well beyond the "normal" prep curriculum, and I love that too.

Today we were talking. We were talking about my girl. And the perfectionist in her. For example, every day in class they do "cross pattern walking" and other activites. These are specially designed to get the left and right side of the brain to cross over (or something like that anyway)

To begin with Miss E didn't want to do it, because she didn't know how. Then she tried it but gave up, because she didn't do it right. She told me she couldn't do it. She told me the teachers said she was doing it wrong. (um - don't think so honey - they were just helping - but you are so like me and I probably would have said that too)

The perfectionist in her stops my girl trying new things. If she can't do it already, or is worried she will fail, she just refuses to try.

And so our conversation went. Till I mentioned this perfectionism. And the teacher said "we have to knock that out of her". And I agreed.

And here is where the lesson lies. She said "the way we teach children nowdays, and how we get them to learn, is we need them to take risks. They have to try things. And fail. And in doing so they stretch themselves beyond what they thought they could do."

And I've thought about that all night. What do you not do, because you might fail. Is your house untidy, because "I'm just too busy. I don't have time". And because you worry you might start and be right back where you started.

Is there something you always wanted to do, but were too scared to try.

We need to take risks. That is how we learn. We might not always succeed. But if we try with all our heart there is a lesson, even in the failing.

What risk can you take this week?

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