Lasting Impressions: What Are Iterations?

CATHY SOWARD IS a mentor from HP. She recently assisted a student from Topeka, Kansas. In her messages, she includes simple yet powerful concepts. Iteration is the act of repeating a process with the aim of approaching a desired goal, with each repetition itself called an iteration. It’s a lost art in many schools of today. But not where Cathy is involved. With one iteration’s results usable as a starting point for the next iteration, improvement is inevitable. So wherever students regularly turn in works of poor quality week after week without being “called out” on it, Cathy gently insists they keep grooming their drafts. In so doing, she assists sixth graders to accomplish college-level work. Here’s a snippet (already in progress) of her million-dollar advice:

(from Cathy, to her student)

“It is better, and like you said, a rough draft. I definitely do not think you should start over, because the second draft is so much better than the first. All the suggestions I made are just to get it to the point where it will be the real deal. Don’t give up. Actually, this reminds me of how I think of cooking; I figure I’ll be 90 years old before I get everything right, if I get to live that long. But it’s fun to work on. Anyway, just keep trying, you’ll get it. Kind of like sports in a way too, you don’t start out a pro, you have to keep working on things. Thanks for writing and talk to you again soon.”

Is it possible to realistically maintain such educational environments? We want to know. Tell us what you think and what makes you think that way. Include your name, company, your city and state. Write to us at: staff@telementor.org

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