“It’s amazing how well we do under pressure,” one elementary learner exclaimed to the group as they were circling up on the rug to reflect.
Their third exhibition of the year had just concluded and they were excited to read the parents’ feedback and discover which pet had won in the Pitch-A-Pet contest!
Laughter, smiles and silliness abounded – yet subsided a bit as the discussion began.
A hero was elected to read the feedback forms. Although the group’s energy started out strong, it seemed to deflate like a hot air balloon with each review that was read aloud.
8 – “I loved your song, but I didn’t like how the heroes were disrespecting each other.”
3 – “I didn’t know what was going on since there was nobody leading and saying what would come next.”
4 – “I loved seeing the pitches. But it went on for too long, and I was sad that I didn’t have much time left to see the Spark work set up in their studio.”
4 – “This was the most chaotic exhibition I’ve ever seen. It was completely unorganized and this affected the Spark heroes’ energy. It was hard to watch and to know what was going on. This was not world class.”
The heroes were stunned as they flipped through the rest of the reviews. Another 4 rating. Another 3 rating. A 5 rating. And another 4 rating.
“Oh my goodness,” the heroes said, dumbfounded. “They hated this! It even sounds like some of them might be upset. This must have been the worst exhibition ever!”
As the learners considered the feedback, their guide asked, “Do you agree with this feedback? Are your parents right?” With sincerity, the heroes paused and then responded, “Yes, they are right. Each of the examples they gave are true.”
It’s in moments like these that it can be painful to step back as a guide – to see how the heroes failed to prepare well for Exhibition – and then to allow them to experience the result for themselves. And yet, it is in these moments where powerful lessons can be learned – lessons that will stick with them for a lifetime.
We value failing early, cheaply and often at Acton – and celebrating the many lessons that come from it. Receiving authentic feedback from a real-world test like an Exhibition is one aspect that makes this learning experience so powerful.
The group went on to discuss plans for how to improve for their next Exhibition – even making it the best Exhibition they’ve ever had. We are excited to see how this experience springs them forward in their leadership as a tribe!