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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Real Success With The Common Core Will Require Some Failure | Cathlyn Dossetti, Impatient Optimists

This article begins with discussion of an attitude I've long accepted and advocated: Failure breeds success through the creativity it stimulates.

Or as I put it at my website: It's OK to make mistakes. That's why pencils have erasers. A pencil, which I call "The Ultimate Creativity Tool," sits at the top of all my site's pages. I also use that symbol of creativity in the name of my writing and editing service: Garbl's Pencil & Good Cause Communications.

Of course, for mistakes and that tool to lead to creative results, we must move beyond the mistakes, acknowledging them but fixing them by trying other solutions again and again.

Dossetti's article eventually focuses on school reform as an important issue that should achieve creative success by responding effectively to failures. But I want to highlight her early comments.

She writes:

In order to succeed at change, failure is not only inevitable; it’s necessary. Any successful change makes room for mistakes. To expect perfect execution from the inception of change dooms it to true, catastrophic failure. Imagine expecting a child to write only final drafts. It’s preposterous. So why do we expect schools to implement complex changes as if the final, perfect phase is the only one that matters? Failure is the part of the process.
Unfortunately, it is the fear [of] failure that also stymies entire systems. Let’s face it; failure is scary. It can be paralyzing. We forget that it is our mistakes that we learn from. Competency, even mediocrity, erases our understanding of how our missteps shaped our eventual successes.
And as she concludes her article:
We must realize that everyone who tries something new is bound to fail. Learning from that failure is the catalyst of change that will lead to success.
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Dossetti's article is featured today, Feb. 19, in my online daily paper, Garbl's Good Cause Communications, available at the Nonprofit Communications tab above and by free email subscription.
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