No, let me do it

Posted on May 17, 2012


I hope that students will be saying this as much as possible at The Puzzle School:

“No, let me do it”

As in, don’t tell me the answer, don’t help me, let me figure it out.

I think this is a huge indicator of a great educational environment. Students believing that they can figure it out and wanting to enjoy the process (including the failures) as well as the satisfaction of figuring something out on their own.

The other night I saw a clip from Jane Goodall showing a chimp learning how to fish for termites. The baby begins by using the wrong tool (a wide leaf vs. a skinny twig) and it’s immediately clear to the more teaching chimp that she’s doing it wrong. She tries to help the student, but the student pushes her away briefly. Soon after the teacher comes in and shows her the right tool, but that moment of doing it wrong and saying “no, let me do it”, was probably the most important moment of true learning. She didn’t just learn that this is the way you do it, but learned, through failure, why something else isn’t the way to do it, probably recognizing more of the nuances of the technique in the process.