Apollo 11, Making Mistakes & English Teaching

When I was at Uni, the Apollo Program was a blueprint for almost everything we did.Β  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!”Β  Β NASA knew that they wouldn’t get it perfect first time.Β  In fact Apollo 1 was, quite literally, a disaster.

They knew they had to test each section as they were going,Β  finding the parts that would fail and fixing them as they happened.Β  Β The goal was big, to put a man on the moon and return him safely to Earth, so they split it into chunks,Β  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 the teachers who try to make out that they are perfect.

And that their students should be perfect too.

I’m not.

You’re probably not.

So let’s let our students know too that mistakes are the way we get to the moon!

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...

2 Responses to “Apollo 11, Making Mistakes & English Teaching”

  1. Marina Terrosi

    I m not perfect at all. Let me tell you how many times I strive to put the appropriate prepositions in sentences when I speak.

  2. Maria Kase

    Well said Richard.

    I think that this is one of the main reasons why despite the many years of studying English in school here in Japan, people find it difficult to communicate in English. In my many years of teaching here, I noticed, that Japanese students (except for young kids) who are trying to learn how to communicate in English always find it difficult to do so. Why? Because they are afraid to make mistakes & definitely don’t want to try and produce unless they know that they have the perfect vocabulary and grammar structure when they try to speak which is just impossible. I always try to share how many mistakes I made while I was learning how to communicate effectively in Japanese to help them understand that they will definitely make mistakes but it’s okay. That’s what we’re here for as teachers, right? And we definitely make mistakes too.

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