Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Following the Recipe

In Rationalizing your project from Seth Godin's Blog , Seth Godin states,

“What if you followed the recipe by following the recipe, simply to learn the technique…”

When I’m knitting a garment and trying a new pattern, I usually make it exactly the way the pattern says to do. Once I learn how the construction is designed and I see how the garment fits, I know what changes I need to make. When I first learned how to knit socks, I followed the pattern exactly as called for. When I tried it on, I found out the sock was too wide and too long. I learned how to adjust my stitch count and adapt it to fit the length of my foot. Now I’m able to knit socks that fit my feet perfectly.

I think when I teach my students, I need to explain to them that the first completed project may not be an exact fit for what they expect. It is good to follow the directions or recipe just as they are written so you will have a base to start with. Many companies make a prototype so they can see what adjustments have to be made. By trying to do something, students and teachers can learn what adjustments need to be made. Since the basic directions were followed, it will be easier to see where the adjustments are needed. Many students think that if their final project isn’t perfect, then they have failed. I see that the completion of a project even with flaws is a step in the right direction and should be considered a success.

Over the years, I have seen teachers confuse effort with perfection. They imply to the student that if they had put more effort into a project, the project would have been completed perfectly. I think this is a misconception that we are giving to our students. Yes, I think we need to expect the best that the students can give, and we should expect that they put forth their best effort, But even if they do their best, that doesn’t guarantee that the final outcome will be perfect.

I think it is more important that we learn from our mistakes and learn how to make adjustments so that the final product will be better.  Students need to learn to critique their work and see that just because there are things that can be done better or differently doesn’t mean that what they did is terrible. This is an important job skill that we should be teaching students that they will able to use in the workforce.

Do you think it is better to follow the directions exactly as written the first time or do you think it is better to adjust as you go? Why? Please share.

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