Being interestingly wrong

We are coming to the end of our teaching term; we have one week of teaching left, before the University closes for its Christmas break. And for me, this is always a time of reflection; looking back over the past weeks of working with students and thinking about things to work into the teaching for next year.

One thing that I always reflect on is that the students are seeing the material we’re covering for the first time. I’ve taught this particular class for ten years now, and one thing I need always to bear in mind is that while I have an opportunity to continue to develop my understanding of the material, I must always remember that the students won’t have had that opportunity.

And so I need to allow them to be wrong, to miss connections between different things or to not understand why we’re taking a particular approach. And I would like them to have the opportunity to be wrong, because we learn a lot when things don’t work as we expect.

This ties into an old thing from aikido, that we don’t learn as much when things are going well. When the arguments make sense, when the techniques are working, we don’t learn. But when the arguments remain in shadows and we struggle, when the techniques aren’t moving uke and we struggle, we then need to think through the details of what we’re doing and that’s where we learn.

Another aspect of this, when we’re struggling, is to take advantage and to be wrong in interesting ways. And this is a reasonable goal, I think. We will always be learning things, and part of the process of learning is to explore and make mistakes during that exploration, but why not be wrong in new and unusual and interesting ways.

After all, why spend my time and effort, only to be wrong in a way I’ve done before.

~ by Jim Anderson on 11 December 2022.

One Response to “Being interestingly wrong”

  1. Thank you. “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got…” So I will try to look for ways to be more interestingly wrong. (I have a favourite slogan T-shirt that says “Experiment. Fail. Learn. Repeat.” Want to do more of that. Especially the learning component.

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