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In my teaching, I will sometimes deliberately do something wrong. It isn't about pulling off some folksy, cheesy stunt though! Instead, it serves to voice the likely thoughts of learners and it works as an efficient stairstepping technique.
Stair-stepping is a great way to guide learners from one concept to the next seamlessly. In this method, the previously learned concept is applied to the next task at hand. This gives learners the opportunity to use what they've learned and see how it performs in a different context.
However, what's more interesting is when this stair-step doesn't quite function as expected.
When our previously learned methodologies fail to work in a new context, it forms a fitting stage for understanding why. At such an instance, learners might be wondering why we can't just stick to the thing we just learned.
Here, we step in, voicing their very thoughts and drawing them into a live troubleshooting scenario.
Let's look at a couple of examples drawn from my MySQL course.
In that course, we were trying to run a command we had run many times before. Executing the command led us straight to a roadblock. The error message stated, 'JSON column JSON supports indexing only via generated columns on a specified JSON path.'
What we learned in this case was that you can't index a JSON Blob the way we tried to. I was prepared for this! The goal was to make students part of the process, helping them understand why jumping from one method to another doesn't always work.
By exposing errors in a controlled environment, we can create teachable moments and transform frustration into learning.