It’s OK to Make Mistakes

3 Feb

To me, Jim Henson was one of the most creative artists/entertainers of recent memory.  Here, his son, Brian, describes his father’s leadership style.  It is based on allowing people to use their creative talents to go beyond the script.  My favorite quote: “In a creative effort people need to be taking risks, and if it turns out to be a mistake, it should be applauded.  If everyone is staying safe, you never create something new.”


Vodpod videos no longer available.

5 Responses to “It’s OK to Make Mistakes”

  1. Mary Lou Donahoe February 4, 2012 at 1:05 pm #

    Amanda, as Karen very well pointed out, your comment is magnificent: Your mistakes are what guide us in the right direction. It is hard to see that at times, in our own lives and as teachers, because we teach very young students. However, it is critical that we let them explore. I think the word exploration is better than mistakes. Karen’s comment on being a “life long learner” is also an important one to continuously try to learn new things and do not loose that “childlike curiosity.” Drew also mentioned in his introduction, to go beyond the script, basically to give ourselves permission to explore and discover new things every day.

  2. Mary Lou Donahoe February 4, 2012 at 9:49 am #

    We have read other posts in this blog about the role of a teacher as leaders and how much we can influence our students outcomes even later in life. Jim Hansen definitely was a good leader, as good leaders are good followers. He allowed his staff to use their creative talents and explore. He did not micromanage them. Our society places value in perfection, and that only leads to deception and stagnation. Children are natural curious beings, and they need to explore in order to learn and develop a sense of self. We can only attain a good sense of self when we are allowed to take risks and make mistakes.

    Many good inventions are the results of mistakes. Thomas Edison tried more than nine thousand times until he came up with the lightbulb. The microwave is the product of a mistake. America would not exist, as we know it today, if Christopher Columbus would not have made a mistake. Making a mistake is not the problem, the problem lis when we do not try new things out of fear of making a mistake.

  3. Amanda Stark February 3, 2012 at 8:39 pm #

    I’m worried that there is not enough creativity in our student’s lives. In my opinion, there are very few moments for natural learning and spontaneous creativity that occur in the classroom. Speaking from an artitistic perspective, always having three shades of paint and glitter under my fingernails, I love the process of learning through hands on approaches to subject matter. As you mentioned Karen, the “unexpected answers,” are exciting to hear. Students discover these answers by doing. I think the most exciting classrooms are those where students are not sitting and listening, but rather those rooms where students are moving, talking, working and engaging themselves with one another.

    A teacher once told me that mistakes are a necessary part of learning. Your mistakes are what guide you in the right direction.

    • Karen Landsman February 4, 2012 at 12:11 pm #

      I love that, Amanda: “Your mistakes are what guide you in the right direction.”
      I’d be interested to know if you have any ideas for how to increase the opportunity for those moments of “natural learning and spontaneous creativity”?

  4. Karen Landsman February 3, 2012 at 8:43 am #

    Letting yourself (and others) make mistakes in the process of learning is one of the hardest, yet most rewarding things to do. As teachers, we naturally want to find (and want our students to find) the “right answer”. Of course, the task of filling in bubble sheets only reinforces this notion.
    Yet, it is through my work with artists and with Destination Imagination that I have learned the value of the “unexpected answers” because that is where the real joy lies. The focus is on the PROCESS and the product is often very different and much more interesting than I would have ever expected.
    It is a constant struggle for me to “let go” and not try to control the outcome, including letting myself make mistakes. But I think it makes me a better teacher to be on ongoing learner, so I try to learn something new (how to knit, how to play the piano, how to do a difficult puzzle, how use a new technology tool) just to remember how it feels to be new at something and learning through making mistakes.
    This is how our young students feel as they learn to read, write, do math, explore science, understand social concepts and navigate their way through every day at school. So, if they are confident at using a tech tool, I’m prepared to learn from them as well. Who knows what we might create together?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: