Making Curriculum Pop

The cover story in the June issue of WIRED magazine is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at movie making, the Pixar way.

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The upper echelons also subject themselves to megadoses of healthy criticism. Every few months, the director of each Pixar film meets with the brain trust, a group of senior creative staff. The purpose of the meeting is to offer comments on the work in progress, and that can lead to some major revisions. “It’s important that nobody gets mad at you for screwing up,” says Lee Unkrich, director of Toy Story 3. “We know screwups are an essential part of making something good. That’s why our goal is to screw up as fast as possible.”

How do we teach to healthy criticism? I had a kid once tell me I couldn't correct this or that because it would hurt his self esteem. I asked him what he thought it did to my self esteem when he turn in such poor work and didn't think I would notice.

Frank I know the point of posting the Pixar article was probably not about the criticism bit-- but it sure made me wonder.

Heck, I would love to feel that confident with feeling fabulous about "screwups being an essential part of making something good." So thanks!

Great question: perhaps we, in teaching, need to rethink how we approach student assessment. It ought to be OK to "screw up" once in a while, yes?, but we don't tolerate that in an "always testing" environment.
Suzanne, I think I may have an answer for you. I often bring my own work into the class. sometimes the kids know its mine by the by line, sometimes not. I let them tear my piece to shreds. I point out that we are differeentiating between the Mike that wrote it and the Mike standing right there with them. Then I point out that I am going to mark their work, not criticise them. They have to get thick skin, I point out, because we are going to discuss ideas and its important they are willing to share their ideas.



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