Effortless English Archives

Automatic English For The People

Monday, February 13, 2006

Fail Faster

by AJ

"If something goes awry, the typical Big Company (or school)... shoots the messenger... appoints a Special Investigator... Aims to make sure that this aberration Never Occurs Again. In the process, the possibility of... Rapid Progress.. is severely diminished.

In short: 'Do it right the first time" is.... stupid. A Snare. A Delusion.

--Tom Peters

That pretty much sums up my "teaching approach": try shit, reflect on it, then try more shit.

Usually, when I try something the first time,... it fails. Sometimes Im clumsy with the execution. Sometimes the students "dont get it". Sometimes its just a bad day. And sometimes its just a terrible idea.

I once tried to implement a complicated stock market type game with my students..... as a means of jazzing up their projects. It bombed. But the projects themselves were great.

The first time I tried the movie technique, at TU, it bombed. But here in SF, its working fine.

Free reading worked great at TU, but I havent been able to get it going with my current class.

There is no "secret curriculum". There is no one-size-fits-all solution. There's no perfect lesson plan, no perfect technique.

Each teacher, each school, each student is different. What's more... each constantly changes. What worked last month might not work this month. What failed a year ago just might work today.

To grow as a teacher, you've got to try stuff..... the more you try, the more you learn, the faster you improve.

"Fail faster. Succeed sooner" (David Kelly). Thats a favorite quote of Tom Peters.. and me too. Dont waste time endlessly debating. And, contrary to conventional wisdom, dont think too much before you act. The time to reflect is AFTER you act. Then, at least, you have an actual experience to examine... rather than a sack full of imaginary spooks.