Perfect Practice

Practice makes perfect. I can not even count how many times that statement has been followed immediately with an additional word added to the statement. PERFECT practice makes perfect. Coaches, parents, teachers, and music instructors have reminded me over and over again that I must practice perfectly in order to perfect a skill or concept. As a professional educator, I “practice” every day in my instruction and administration. My lesson plans, assessments, decisions, and interactions with colleagues, parents, and students are ways that I “practice.” What is the end result? What must be perfect? Student achievement is the end result, and it needs to be perfect. We all know that it will not be perfect. We also know that the administrator's or the teacher's “practice” will not be perfect either.

I think a new statement may be more realistic as we try to grow as educators. IMPERFECT practice makes perfect. If my practice is perfect, if I take no risks, then I will not grow. Hoerr, 2009 say

s, “If I'm only succeeding, I'm not learning” (p. 90) He goes on to explain how a change in our mindset may allow us to become better teachers. “People with a growth mind-set are willing to take risks, and they view failure as an opportunity to learn, not as a statement about their worth” (2009, p. 91). I know that I have fallen short in my instruction throughout my career. I am always looking for ways to include more technology, student collaboration , and authentic learning. I sometimes struggle to find new activities and break old habits. The good news is that struggles lead to growth. Struggles can lead to more class discussion, more student interaction, more questions, and more student ownership. It has led me to have higher anticipation for teaching and a greater desire to reflect on lessons and determine areas of growth.

I'll conclude by addressing teachers looking to grow, administrators looking to challenge their staff, and students who are willing to learn. I offer the following advice from Hoerr, 2009, “I'll be disappointed if it's a perfect lesson. I want you to try something new, take a risk, so you can learn” (p. 91)

Hoerr, Thomas R. (2009-2010, December-January). Principal as Parachute. Educational Leadership, 67(4), 90-91.

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5 Comments

  1. Lyn Hilt said:

    Because really, if you can do something perfectly, why in the world would you need to practice it? Funny how often we hear that statement but don’t pick up on the fact that it’s totally ridiculous.
    Love your thoughts on the growth mindset leading to risk-taking, plenty of imperfections, and learning!

    October 18, 2010
    • Kevin Creutz said:

      Thanks for the comment. You are right, it can sound like a ridiculous comment. And I totally agree, risks and mistakes are great learning opportunities.

      October 20, 2010
  2. […] found the Connected Principals feed to be the most interesting. I liked the post on “Perfect Practice.” I, too, cringe when I catch myself saying the phrase, “Practice makes perfect” […]

    October 19, 2010
  3. Jenny Black said:

    Hello!

    My name is Jenny Black and I am a student in Dr. Strange’s EDM 310 class at the University of South Alabama. I really enjoyed your post. What is life without risk? Can you ever really learn without making mistakes? If something is perfect every time does that imply its stagnant and ineffective? Risks are good and we learn from mistakes. I think your students are very lucky to have someone that is willing to step outside the box. Great post!

    October 19, 2010
    • Kevin Creutz said:

      Thanks for the comment. I hope you enjoy your class.

      October 20, 2010

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