School of Rock – Magic Mistakes

Magic Mistakes



Before I knew it  after school had drifted into late evening.  I went in search of some light entertainment. ‘School of Rock!’

Feet up and a pot of Greek yogurt (teaching is not so rock on roll) the opening scene caught my attention.

Dewey Finn (lead guitarist) is on stage with his band.  He forces himself onto centre stage – it’s all eyes on him as he erupts into a squealing guitar solo. His band mates promptly tell him you need to leave the band – ‘It’s the 20 minute solos, the stage dives.’

We, teachers, are on stage every day but no on wants the 20 minute solos or the stage dives.

We need less teacher talk. Prioritise time for deliberate practice – learn practice apply. Refrain from bursting into 20 min solos. Unless we create time for ‘Magic Mistakes’ learning can’t happen.

Accelerated learning cycle

It’s the learn practice apply part of any lesson where we can catch children making mistakes. We must build in appropriate time for this . The picture above shows where this vital part fits into our school pedagogical model.

It can be scary letting them loose –  what will I do if they don’t know ? This is where we must be live marking – circling and landing on the misconceptions is crucial. Hover the room,  gleaning information from over the shoulder peeks. Gather a bank of Magic Mistakes and sharing with groups or as a whole class. Can they spot their Magic Mistake ?


Primary classroom application : Share the big picture-  you can’t do a jigsaw without seeing the box. Provide  models of excellence then let children have a go – Learn, Practice and Apply . Circle the room actively seeking Magic Mistakes to share.


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