Photo by Valeriia Miller on

One of the things that makes some people special and ultimately successful is their willingness to “have a go” to stretch their boundaries, to try new experiences – to be unafraid of failure and confident to ask for help if they are unsure.  People who know that in order to get something completely right, they may have to get it wrong first, and that the act of reflecting and refining is a really important part of the learning process will be the ones to succeed.  Children who show this resilience in their learning recognise that a fail is not something to mourn but to celebrate as a First Attempt In Learning. They know that the F.A.I.L. will ultimately make them stronger and better. 

This reminded me of the Japanese art of Kintsugi. The 400+ year old Japanese art of Kintsugi , which translates as golden repair.  This is a pottery repair method that celebrates the unique history and beauty of an object by emphasizing, not hiding, the break. The break becomes a thing of beauty, a celebration. The object has a story to tell, it has become more interesting.  Kintsugi is an art form born from Mottainai – the feeling of regret when something is wasted, so a fail is never wasted effort, it is never the end, our students know that the E.N.D stands for Effort Never Dies

The Legend of Kintsugi

A Japanese legend tells the story of a mighty shogun warrior who broke his favourite tea bowl and sent it away to be repaired. When the bowl was returned to him, it was held together by ugly metal staples. Although the warrior could still use the bowl, he was disappointed. Still hoping to restore his beloved bowl to its former beauty, he asked a craftsman to find a more beautiful solution. The craftsman wanted to try a new technique, something that would add to the beauty of the bowl as well as repair it. So, he mended every crack in the bowl with a resin mixed with gold.   When the tea bowl was returned to the shogun, there were streaks of gold running through it, telling its story, and – the warrior thought they added to its value and beauty.

Every day we break a little, we then pick ourselves up and move on, having learned.  Our mistakes make us stronger and our experiences make us more interesting and more beautiful.  I think if we were all pieces of Kinsugi pottery we would have gold lines painted over our features. 

Click on the link for a short story animation.

“Your best teacher is your last mistake.”

Ralph Nader

Published by headshipjourney

A teacher of thirty years, and mother of twenty seven years, I think I've learned a great deal - about children, about teaching and learning and about myself. We never stop learning and we should never be afraid to ponder new ideas, to roll thoughts around in our minds, to voice our opinions and have healthy debate. We should never have the arrogance to believe that we know it all but we should remain open minded ready to receive inspiration from those around us. And for me that inspiration comes from my own children, the children in my schools, parents and my wonderful team. I firmly believe that I am a privileged soul to be in the role that I am and I embrace every day and the challenge and joy that it will bring.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: