Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Hard Knocks

One phrase I don't hear all that often anymore is people learning from the School of Hard Knocks.  

It was a phrase often used in my childhood, especially by my father who never actually attended school.  He learned his ABC's and how to write (draw) his name, but otherwise learned via experience...or, the School of Hard Knocks.  

As I teach, especially the nitty gritty of weaving, I am reminded over and over again that I cannot give my experiences to anyone else.  I can explain principles, show students exercises which will give them similar experiences, but ultimately they will have to do the work of getting there themselves.  If I just tell them what to do, all I have done is taught them to follow someone else's directions, not to learn by exploring the concepts for themselves, not how to observe, analyze and draw their own conclusions.  

In other words, they need to try and 'fail' - or succeed - so that they can learn for themselves.  

The School of Hard Knocks isn't the easiest school to learn at, but it can be effective.  We learn to deal  with failure by failing and not allowing that failure to derail the learning process.  I have tried and failed at many things.   I will fail many more times.  How we learn is by not giving up, but getting up, dusting ourselves off and trying again.  And again.  And again.  


Lady Locust said...

So well put! I once heard a little analogy. If you show a young child how to make the letter "A" and he/she doesn't do it perfectly the first time, do you reprimand them? We have to, as you say, practice and explore.

Peg Cherre said...

I know that I have learned more from my 'failures' than my 'successes.' And sometimes those failures have ended up being an unintended design that I really like. But learning about sett, about beat, about color interactions, about fiber...the only way, for me at least, is to do it. Reading, video, and classrooms are great, but they serve only to set me on the path. How far down that path I choose to travel - that's where the real learning takes place.