On making mistakes


img_0674I needed these bright sunflowers to get me started this dull and drizzly autumn morning.  My mind just played the word association game, and I thought of Van Gogh’s famous sunflowers, which took me back to my visit to the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam a couple of summers ago.  In turn, this reminded me that I haven’t visited an art gallery for a while …

The last time I went to a gallery was the end of May.  One Saturday, I decided to go to the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester www.whitworth.manchester.ac.uk , as I’d never been before.  I had a fantastic day, wandering round alone – I much prefer to go on my own, so I don’t have to discuss what I’m seeing with anyone else.  I took a notebook.  At the time, there was an exhibition of kids’ artwork.  Local schools had taken part in the project to produce art, and the results were stunning.  One of the primary school teachers involved had written a piece about the experience.  I thought her words were inspiring:

“I believe that every person has the potential and a natural ability to be creative.  Negative adult response to children’s work often manifests itself in a creative block that can last a lifetime … The words ‘I can’t’ have no place in my art room.  ‘Having a go’ at anything, however daunting it might seem to the child artist, will prepare pupils to face any challenge they face in their lives.  My pupils learn that ‘mistakes’ are an integral part of the learning process and an incentive to overcome and succeed.  They learn that you cannot decide what is ‘right’ until you have weighed up a number of ‘wrong’ outcomes.”

What a great teacher.


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