A recent interaction with a visitor to the Tinkering Studio got me thinking about perfectionism and its role in the tinkering process. On the one hand, to me tinkering is inherently imperfect. There are all sorts of discoveries to be made by the happy accidents that take place as you build, and quite often the road you initially start down will take you someplace completely unexpected. Those unexpected moments are part of the joy of tinkering. That being said, we also value initiative and intentionality as part of the approach, and see those qualities as indicators of learning through tinkering. Which brings me to my question - how can we make room for that intentionality without letting perfectionism block our path through building?
In the Tinkering Studio, examples play an interesting role in this balancing act. The visitor I was facilitating saw a cranky contraption example of a jumping frog and wanted to recreate it. Where we hit a roadblock was that she felt like she couldn't continue working on it if it wasn't exactly like the example. Despite feeling frustrated, she still really wanted to complete her project. As a facilitator, I struggled with my own ideas and underlying philosophy about how to approach the project versus meeting her where she was at. I think it's important to convey that tinkering will always be unique to each individual, and that even if you copy an example it will still be your version of that idea. Yet, how do we share those pedagogical intentions without dismissing learners' personal goals and vision?
What have you learned about facilitating through perfectionism in your own practice? Take the conversation over to Twitter and message @tinkeringstudio to share ideas and insights!