The Best Way to Learn – Make Mistakes

A Confession: I am a TED junkie. I could spend all day watching TED videos, and I have been inspired, motivated and amazed by so many of them.

Diana Laufenberg’s talk in December last year however, spoke directly to me. I have seen first hand the amazing advantages of experiential learning, and the combination of that with Constructivism (in which the learner attempts to construct their own knowledge) lends itself to a much much more powerful form of learning than one can imagine.

To be able to teach (especially the way Ms Laufenberg has) I think we, as teachers/educators need to

a) TRUST – trust that the children will learn what they need to know, in their own time and in their own way. We also need to trustĀ ourselves to give and allow them time and opportunity to learn, even through, or especially through their mistakes.

b) Have PATIENCE – Patience to wait for the children to ‘see/find’ the answers; and patience to answer the questions they might have or point them in the direction of the answers.

c) Have HUMILITY – to share experiences and also to admit that one does not or cannot know everything and learning is life-long.

d) be CONFIDENT in own methods of teaching and in the children’s capability and capacity to learn.

Do you have any thoughts to add or know of other inspiring teachers?

© 2011, Li-ling. All rights reserved.


  • This brings up a lot of my ideas and feelings about homeschooling. I knew some Mamas who couldn’t trust the process and constantly questioned if their children were absorbing enough material. I love to learn and as long as my children were engaged with something worthwhile, I felt good about it and could trust that they were getting what they needed.

    When I teach language I use the metaphor that the student must build their own room in their brain for that language. They must furnish it with words that they own, lay the foundation with words that they have taken to heart. I have experienced meaning as a medium, and I really believe that we can use it like a mental building material to create strong pathways in our brains, which then become essential tools for working in the world.

  • Yes, I especially loved the way she encouraged the children to explore and learn. I always wonder though how possible/easy it is within educational curriculums so filled with tick-box targets and so many children to cater to.
    I think it is often very hard to do things differently from how we have been taught. The majority of the population have been to school and in school that to do it differently somehow feels wrong sometimes, you are right, it’s all about trust.

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