It will be a long time before I spell “handkerchief” incorrectly. That’s because in third grade, I lost the entry round of the spelling bee to my friend Elisa because I got it wrong. Who knew that there was a “d”?
And now I know where I keep the thermos in my house. I spent twenty minutes looking for it the other day, and failed. A few days later, I came across it. Because of the previous challenge of missing it, my brain was on high alert when it finally appeared.
That’s how we learn most of the foundational things that we know, remember and care about–not through exposure, but through effort and failure.
That’s why tests aren’t nearly as useful as projects. Just about anything worth learning is worth learning the hard way.