Being O.K. with bombing is one of the hardest concepts to learn as a student who has driven to always be perfect.
Since I was young, I have always been one of “the smart girls.” Throughout almost my entire education I was what historian and educator Ken Bain would call “a strategic learner.” I did what I had to do to get an A, and then I forgot the information I had just learned. The only subjects I truly understood were language arts and literature.
Sophomore year I took my first journalism class. My teacher was amazing; Mrs. Kuehn was quirky, sarcastic, challenging, and helpful.
Despite the fact that I loved my teacher, she ripped my writing apart. There was usually more red than black on my paper when she gave it back to me.
This made me crazy. I had always done really well in school, and even though Mrs. Kuehn said I was doing well I was going out of my mind.
Time after time I thought I brought what I thought to be a perfect paper to her to grade and time after time she said I would do better next time.
Mrs. Kuehn taught me how to fail.
This class made me want to understand and grasp a greater understanding of the concepts.
When I chose to understand the material rather than memorize it, I began to really excel. Writing became my passion, and I wanted to pursue my passion.
Bain may have described this as my transition time into a deeper learner.
Throughout the rest of my high school career I developed some of the characteristics that Bain describes like passion, being able to fail, and setting goals.
Classifying myself as entirely a deeper learner would be overly optimistic and overall untrue.
I strategically learn subjects I don’t like, and I deeply learn subjects I enjoy and plan on pursuing.
To apply deep learning to other aspects of my education I have to realize that a better understanding of every subject will help me become a better rounded person. In doing so, I will become a better journalist because good journalists have a basic understanding of a lot of different things.
I can’t expect to only cover stories I want to, so I must learn how to enjoy every story I cover.
Deeper learners get more out of their educational experiences because they walk away with knowledge. Strategic and surface learners learn the material to get by and then cast it away. It is important to take the knowledge with you have let it help you grow.
Since my first journalism class, I have failed thousands of times. I have been told I was wrong more times than I would like to admit. And I have learned more than I ever would have.
Learning how to fail was the most important concept I ever learned, and has continued to affect my learning more than any practice problem or homework assignment ever could. Stephan Colbert put it perfectly, “You must be O.K. with bombing. You have to love it.”
I can now say that I am O.K. with failing because it means that I am learning.
Photo by Carly Tubridy
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