Zero-base Reconstruction: Mistakes

This is part of a series that ponder over what we should be teaching in schools and to our children to prepare them adequately for life. We covered ideas like visioning, heritage, empathy – all of which relates both to life and also suggest how these things can be more consciously infused into what we teach and the way we teach.

Today I want to cover teaching about mistakes. And I don’t mean generically the concept of mistakes. I mean like real things that we have done in the past which constitutes mistakes: decisions made about regulations, country policies, failure to detect wrongdoing, making wrongful arrests and so on. Like sharing about the lead-up, the events from various perspectives and calling out the mistakes made, analysing them.

And the reason I put up the sustainability banner for this article is because any unsustainable practice we apply in our economy is a mistake (and there are many examples to draw from). And it is important to understand what are the kind of conditions and incentives that create that. It is also necessary to appreciate that mistakes are often controversial in that it may seem right in certain dimensions and wrong in others. The idea is to examine the perspectives and the conditions driving these perspectives.

For example, the use of coal-fired power is a mistake; but we acknowledge that it was what brought the world to a level of production and technological advancement that allows us to understand the problem better, and figure out how to deal with it. Calling out a mistake is the first step in trying to understand problems better and work towards solving them – which is yet another skill we want to equip our next generation with. Uncovering ‘mistakes’ of mankind, of national governments, of organisations can be worked into the subjects of Economics, Business, History – even the Sciences. Some may wonder what are the merits of teaching about mistakes but remember once when we thought the earth was flat? That was a mistake made in the past that we don’t want to repeat. Yet there’s now so much misinformation that there seem to be a resurgence of people believing in the flat earth. So let’s not take mistakes for granted – sometimes it is not obvious something is a mistake and often people making mistakes would want to cover it up and make tonnes of excuses for them.

Now while we try to normalise calling out on mistakes, we want to be able to learn to move forward together regardless of who made the mistakes. We need to help one another overcome that playground instinct of putting blame on people as though eliminating someone would make the world a better place. But I’d probably write another post about it.


2 responses to “Zero-base Reconstruction: Mistakes”

  1. […] wrote about teaching mistakes. And I thought it was more important than problem solving because for most part of the mass […]

  2. […] written substantially about what our culture tells us about mistakes and how we should be taught about them. Because mistakes are telling us something valuable about the world and ourselves, but if all we […]