Opinion
School & District Management Opinion

Inexperience Can Be An Asset For Students

By Patrick Larkin — November 14, 2016 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

There have been a number of occasions that I have wondered whether or not my previous experience was more of a hinderance than an asset. As a school administrator, I question how capable I am of thinking outside of the traditional learning experiences that I have had. Gaining an outside perspective from individuals who have had success veering from a more “traditional” path is important to gain perspective on the varying paths that are open to our students.

Recently, I had the opportunity to listen to Ben Uyeda, the Creative Director of Homemade Modern and the co-founder of Zero Energy Design. The Homemade Modern YouTube Channel has over 350,000 subscribers and over 5-million views for Ben’s amazing do-it-yourself projects. The video below is one which shows Ben making a concrete stool with a bag of concrete, a bucket, and three dowels. The design was something that Ben created after a friend told him that he could not make a quality stool that would be cheaper than something that could be bought at IKEA.

After listening to Ben speak to a group of high school students, I could not help wondering about the number of opportunities our students are being given to push their thinking. The following are a few of the highlights from Ben’s visit with our high school students:

Being young and inexperienced is a competitive advantage." I am not sure I have ever hear a teacher tell a student that his or her inexperience could be an asset.
Sometimes it pays to be impatient." Ben recounted the fact that in architecture, people generally have to work for someone for 1o years before they can start a business. He and a few of his classmates at Cornell decided that their free time would only dwindle after college, so they started planning in college. They started designing solar homes They got their start leading Cornell University's 2005 Solar Decathlon team in a competition, sponsored by the US Department of Energy, to design and build an 800 square-foot off-grid solar home. "Build skills even if you do not know what you want to do with them. Skills are universal. Don't focus on specific knowledge." "Most people look directly ahead of them and do what they are told. Make sure when you are not doing what you are told that you are doing something useful." In looking at the work that some of our students had made using small pieces of cardboard, Ben encouraged them to "Make as many mistakes as quickly as possible..."

There are growing examples of innovative thinkers like Ben who have charted a different course for themselves to succes. We need to ensure that our students have access to career pathways that include these nontraditional routes. Their success following the tradtional route seems to ensure less and less, particularly if it has an overemphasis on specific knowldege and a minimal focus on skills.

Many of the themes of Ben’s talk with our students can be seen in the TEDx Talk below that he have a little over a year ago.

Related Tags:

The opinions expressed in Reinventing K-12 Learning are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
What’s Next for Teaching and Learning? Key Trends for the New School Year
The past 18 months changed the face of education forever, leaving teachers, students, and families to adapt to unprecedented challenges in teaching and learning. As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management 10 Ways to Tackle Education's Urgent Challenges
As the school year gets underway, we ask hard questions about education’s biggest challenges and offer some solutions.
2 min read
Conceptual Image of schools preparing for the pandemic
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
School & District Management Reported Essay Principals Need Social-Emotional Support, Too
By overlooking the well-being of their school leaders, districts could limit how much their schools can flourish.
7 min read
Conceptual Illustration
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
School & District Management From Our Research Center Educator Stress, Anti-Racism, and Pandemic Response: How You're Feeling
A new nationally representative survey offers key takeaways from teachers, principals, and district leaders.
EdWeek Research Center
1 min read
2021 BI COVER no text DATA crop
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
School & District Management Download 8 Tips for Building a Digital Learning Plan That Conquers Chaos
Craft flexible strategies, encourage experimentation with new instructional models, and regularly solicit feedback.
1 min read
onsr edtech tips
Getty