“Guys, I didn’t think we could do it. But we did it!”
This quote was from a learner at the end of last session. Her team had been tasked with a big challenge to prepare for Exhibition. The team had 90 minutes to come up with a solution. And they did.
Anyone can take a test. You might not know the exact questions or if you will get a passing grade but anyone can sit and fill in bubbles. Task complete.
What if school was built around bigger goals? Goals where you don’t know if you could complete the task at hand. Think of the excitement. The leap into the unknown. The risk that sits on the top of your tongue as you consider the possibility of failure and then decide to go ahead and try anyway.
In childhood, we set aspirational goals. I want to be a professional basketball player! I want to direct a movie someday! I will go to the moon! As adults, we forget how motivating these goals can be. A child has a slim chance of being a professional basketball player but that doesn’t mean that they won’t go out every day and shoot hoops. Our instinct is to tamp down on these impulses because we don’t want to set our children up for failure. It is scary to not see the path ahead. To not have a strategy ready to share or the right resource at hand. But what if children succeed precisely because they don’t know if they can do it and are motivated to try?
And even if they fail the task, what will they gain along the way?