On Teaching and Failure and Confidence and Faking It

Two old notes found on my desk today:

1.  From a Parade magazine interview with George Clooney, where he responds to the question, "What have you learned from your failures?"
It's hard when you get thumped.  I've been proficient at failure.  But the only thing you can do is say, "Here's what I won't do next time."  I was a baseball player in school.  I had a good arm, I could catch anything, but I was having trouble hitting. I would be like, "I wonder if I'll hit it; just let me hit the ball."  And then I went away for the fall, learned how to hit, and by my sophomore year I'd come to the plate and think, "I wonder where I want to hit the ball, to the left or the right?"  Just that little bit of skill and confidence changed everything.  Well, I had to treat acting like that.  I had to stop going into auditions thinking, "Oh, I hope they like me."  I had to go in thinking I was the answer to their problem.  You could feel the difference in the room immediately.  The greatest lesson I learned was that sometimes you have to fake it.  And you have to be willing to fail.
2.  From my notebook as I was conducting a lot of research on experiential learning best practices and teaching critical thinking:
Until students feel that what they think has some validity, it is impossible for them to view themselves as capable of constructing knowledge. (Baxter Magolda 1992)
The question is how to get my students to feel that, to believe it, to have some confidence in their voices.  Or at least to fake it until it feels true to them.


  1. Good question, but I think part of that is to actively listen...my best teachers in school were active listeners.

    1. Yes, definitely, Serena. They can't trust their own voices if all their hearing is mine.