Apollo 11, Making Mistakes & English Teaching

When I was at Uni, the Apollo Program was a blueprint for almost everything we did.  Whether it was an electronics project, rocket fuel calculations or astral navigation, Apollo had basically covered it all.

And they SOPed everything!

One of the key things is that the one that landed on the moon 50 years ago was Apollo 11.

It wasn’t Apollo 1 or 2 or 3, it was the 11th one.

So they didn’t just set off and say “Right, everything’s perfect, let’s go!”   NASA knew that they wouldn’t get it perfect first time.  In fact Apollo 1 was, quite literally, a disaster.

They knew they had to test each section as they were going,  finding the parts that would fail and fixing them as they happened.   The goal was big, to put a man on the moon and return him safely to Earth, so they split it into chunks,  testing and letting each one fail as they went along.

That’s engineering.  And that’s science.

So for me, as a trained scientist, I always find it so crazy that some humanities trained English teachers try to think that they are perfect.  And that their students should be perfect too.

If science and maths knows that failure is the only way to learn, then maybe a few more English teachers should give it a try.   You never know, they might even get a few more of their students to be actually able to speak the language they are teaching. 🙂

Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. And when I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. So I'm sharing it all with you now...

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