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“There is hope in honest error. None in the icy perfections of the mere stylist”.


Looking at Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s pristine interiors and majestic facades (see pictures below), it might seem hard to imagine the famous Scottish architect and designer, who was so ahead of his time, writing those words in a letter, but I am glad he did.

©House for an Art Lover / The Huntarian, Glasgow.

That he uses the word ‘hope’ when talking about what we are taught to fear and avoid at all costs, is surprising but also comforting. And it’s a helpful reminder that mistakes are part of everyday life, especially in language learning.


I try not to use the words ‘mistake’ or ‘wrong’ during my lessons. As a former student myself, I have had to unlearn those when I became a teacher. And when my students make a mistake, I obviously correct it, while reminding them that this is an ideal opportunity for me to see that certain language points need consolidating and for them to feel more secure about using them in the future.


I am not being kind; I am simply pointing out the obvious. There is indeed hope in honest error, as long as we’re prepared to let go of the pressure to be/act/speak perfectly at all times, of course.

Don't hesitate to send me your questions.

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