As someone deeply immersed in the world of educational research and technology, I’ve always sought inspiration from various sources to enhance my understanding and approach to teaching and learning. One such source of continual inspiration has been Kathryn Schulz’s TED Talk on the topic of being wrong. I’ve listened to her talk more times than I can count, and each time, I discover new insights that resonate with me.

There’s something about the way Schulz delves into the human experience of error that never fails to captivate me, no matter how often I revisit her words. Today, I want to share some of these enduring insights and the lessons I’ve gleaned from them, particularly focusing on their relevance and application in the field of education.

Schulz’s exploration of error, humility, and the human psyche provides profound lessons that are especially pertinent for educators, students, and anyone involved in the learning process. Let’s dive into these lessons and see how they can illuminate our path in the ever-evolving journey of education.

Kathryn Schulz on Being Wrong

Have you ever been absolutely certain about something, only to discover you were wrong? Kathryn Schulz, in her TED Talk, dives into this familiar yet often uncomfortable experience. In a humorous and enlightening presentation, Schulz explores why we hate being wrong and how acknowledging our mistakes can be a transformative experience.

The Road Trip Revelation

Schulz begins her talk with a delightful anecdote from a road trip in 1995. While driving from Rhode Island to Oregon, she kept noticing a “Chinese character” on road signs, which turned out to be the universal symbol for a picnic area. This story humorously illustrates how we can be completely wrong yet utterly confident in our beliefs.

Understanding Error Blindness

One of the key points Schulz discusses is “error blindness.” Just like the coyote in the Looney Tunes cartoons, who doesn’t realize he’s running off a cliff until he looks down, we often don’t recognize our errors until it’s too late. Schulz argues that being wrong feels like being right, which is why we are often so surprised when we realize our mistakes.

The Cultural Stigma of Being Wrong

Schulz also addresses how our culture views errors. From a young age, we’re taught to see mistakes as signs of failure or incompetence. This mindset leads to a fear of being wrong, driving us to defend our beliefs vigorously, even in the face of contrary evidence.

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Lessons Learned

Here are some of the listens gleaned from Kathryn Schulz Ted Talk On Bein Wrong:

1. Embrace Humility: Recognizing that we can be wrong is a humbling experience that opens us to learning and growth.
Embracing humility in the face of potential error is a profound lesson in personal growth and empathy. Recognizing our fallibility doesn’t just keep us grounded; it also fosters a learning environment where questions and curiosity drive progress. When we accept that we don’t have all the answers, we create room for exploration, innovation, and, most importantly, for our students and colleagues to contribute their insights, leading to a richer, more diverse understanding of the subject at hand.

2. Cultivate Openness: Being open to the possibility of being wrong can lead to more meaningful discussions and better decision-making.
Openness to being wrong is not just about admitting mistakes; it’s a proactive stance towards learning and interaction. In the realm of education, this openness can transform the way we approach teaching and curriculum design. It encourages educators and students alike to engage in discussions where differing opinions are not just tolerated but valued. This approach leads to decision-making processes that are inclusive and consider multiple perspectives, resulting in solutions that are more nuanced and effective.

3. Celebrate Diversity of Thought: Schulz suggests that our capacity to err is what makes us human and allows for creativity and different perspectives.
Celebrating diversity of thought is crucial in a world that is increasingly interconnected and multifaceted. Schulz’s insight resonates deeply with my belief in the importance of bringing diverse perspectives into educational spaces. Mistakes and errors are not just missteps; they are opportunities for seeing the world through a different lens. In my research and blogging, I’ve seen firsthand how embracing varied viewpoints leads to a more comprehensive and empathetic understanding of educational challenges. It fosters a culture of innovation where creativity is not just a byproduct but a goal.


In reflecting on Kathryn Schulz’s thought-provoking TED Talk, it’s evident that the lessons about embracing our mistakes, cultivating openness, and celebrating diversity of thought are not just abstract concepts; they are vital, actionable strategies that can profoundly impact our approach to education. Schulz’s insights remind us that acknowledging our fallibility isn’t a sign of weakness but a strength that can lead to more empathetic, effective teaching and learning environments.

As educators, researchers, and lifelong learners, we have the unique opportunity to model this openness and humility in our classrooms and professional lives. By doing so, we not only enhance our own understanding but also empower our students to embrace their learning journeys with curiosity and confidence. In embracing the beauty of being wrong, we open the doors to endless possibilities for growth, innovation, and a deeper connection with the diverse perspectives that enrich our field.

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