Quality comes from effort; not from “magic”

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Making stuff is so much fun that I sometimes get carried away in the “Wahoo!” and overlook the nuts and bolts. One of the fundamental processes I want my students to take away from my class is to an awareness of the “design cycle.” I got this term first from some MYP (International Baccalaureate) colleagues who taught a class my daughter took in middle school called “Design Technology.”

In my class students are not tested on knowing the steps of sequence, but I want to lead them through the process (and later require their documentation of this process in their own development). I want them to think specifically about “revision.”

I was thinking about this yesterday: These days, we see so many advertisements of polished products, we see polished dramas on TV, we see polished people advertising razors and lipstick. We begin to subtly assume that this is normative. What we overlook is that this is the end product of a lot of development. A lot of money and time and revision went into the final product.

Students need to know that making great products (essays or posters of paintings or baskets on the basketball court) is the direct result of effort over time. This sometimes is included as an aspect of a “growth mindset.” I want students to realize that they can do many things if we put time and effort in. One thing I took away from Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers, was that the difference in “ability” is really a difference in time spent. Individuals who spend more time developing a skill end up more proficient than those who spend less time.

Quality is not the result of magic; quality is the result of work.

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