There are lots of ways we can do this as instructors, but one of my favorites is called “How Fascinating”.
It’s a thing I picked up from another blues instructor, Andrew Smith. How Fascinating works like this: When someone makes a mistake, and finds themselves judging or shaming themselves over it, they throw their hands up, open their chests, and say to the world, “How fascinating!” Then, the whole class answers back by mirroring the pose and calling out “How fascinating!” back, in solidarity.
The idea here is to throw off our shame at having ‘messed up’. The physical pose we strike is called a power pose, and has been demonstrated to increase self confidence. The mantra “how fascinating” is intended to replace the shame and judgement curiosity and wonder.
Perhaps the most important thing about this technique is that a person can only start this for themselves. We can’t turn to someone and throw off their shame for them when we see them make a mistake. In fact, ‘how fascinating’ at someone else mostly increases their shame and embarrassment. We can do it for ourselves, and we can support someone who asks for it.
How Fascinating is a great tool to create an environment where mistakes are seen as part of the learning and growing process, rather than a shameful thing to avoid at all costs. Add it to your practice as a teacher, share it with your students, and start enjoying your ‘mistakes’.
By Nicole Trissell