Posted by: bwoof | March 31, 2015

Perfect is not OK

no-one-is-perfect-that-why-pencils-have-erasersI talked with a Grade 9 student today who is very surprised that she’s excelling in math this semester. It’s her first delicious taste of success and she wants more. In previous conversations she has dismissed her skills and diminished her curiosities. Today it’s different and she’s now looking for ways to extend that confidence to French, Science and Gym classes.

If I have a chance, I’ll invite her to watch this 40 minute speech from Carol Dweck about being perfect.  This video is a keeper (for me anyway) and I’ve watched it many times now as a way of reminding me I’m OK when I’m not perfect. What a relief!

Further to this thinking is a web post about how we might need to rethink math learning.  A quotable quote from this post echoes Carol Dweck’s ideas and goes like this:

“….a root cause of many children’s troubles in math, as well as in other subjects, is the belief in natural academic hierarchies. As early as kindergarten, children begin to compare themselves with their peers and to identify some as talented or “smart” in various subjects. A child who decides that she is not talented will often stop paying attention or making an effort to do well. This problem will likely compound itself more quickly in math than in other subjects, because when you miss a step in math, it is usually impossible to understand what comes next.

The more a child fails, the more her negative view of her abilities is reinforced and the less efficiently the child learns.

To create classrooms in which every brain can work efficiently, we must start by dispelling the myth that only a few brains are born with natural talent.”

Grateful for:

Curious about:

  • Our filming enterprise which starts tomorrow
  • How shall we elegantly and with equity accommodate religious traditions and differences during an upcoming important season in the calendar year, a time which coincides (conflicts?) with previously booked and very important graduation events?


  1. Perfection is overrated. Even if I would be given a choice to become “perfect”, I won’t accept it because if I’m already perfect, then I won’t be able to improve anymore.

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