I like to listen to the CBC Radio show Age of Persuasion. It’s topic, advertising, is something that I see everyday and Terry talks about it as a fond parent. The misses, the assumptions, the innovations and the traditions.
I find many parallels with teaching. There are some tones or approaches that work well, and as an instructor, you use them over and over again. And sometimes you try something new – because you want to really emphasize something, because you think the chemistry (in the class, in society) is right, or because you just want to do something different.
And in an episode that I was recently listening too, Terry was talking about advertising fails. And he uses the word fail – he doesn’t beat around the bush. But he advises to fail forward. And I took from that to reflect on the process and the outcomes, to consider what might have worked, or what decisions led to the fail.
I’m scared of trying new things sometimes, and so are the instructors I speak too. It will take too much time, energy or resources, it probably won’t work, students won’t care anyway. And the same excuses exist for the advertisers.
But if you don’t fail forward, then what direction are we going in?