Iterating With AI: What To Do When You Are Stuck

Diving into a project with AI can feel really exciting at first. When you finally take the leap, there's a rush of excitement— everyone has been talking about it and so, of course, the possibilities seem endless. You imagine a smooth process where each step falls beautifully into place, revealing the big picture you had in mind. But sometimes, those steps don't fit as expected. You find yourself staring at the screen, prompts not working out, or maybe you're unsure how to even begin. The initial enthusiasm starts to wane as you hit a wall, leaving you feeling stuck and frustrated. It's a common experience, especially when you're stepping into the world of AI, where the line between potential and challenge is often blurred.

Navigating this space requires a blend of creativity, patience, and a willingness to experiment. The mix of excitement and exasperation that you may be feeling is valid. But it does not need to end there. At GOA, when we talk about changes that may feel massive, we refer to the words of John Gottman - “Small things often.” This reminds us that progress doesn’t always come in sweeping changes or monumental breakthroughs. Instead, it's the small little adjustments and efforts that help us to learn and keep moving when you are feeling stuck. Here’s how to use those moments to your advantage.

Embrace Flexibility

The first step in overcoming a rut is to acknowledge it. Learning is messy. When you're stuck, pay attention and name what you're feeling. This act alone can demystify the experience and make it less daunting. This flexibility isn't just about making the best of a wonky AI response; it's what makes the foundation of a creative and resilient mindset. We saw this in our AI: Essentials for Educators courses this semester as teachers introduced themselves in the welcome padlets. Over and over again, we can see that teachers are approaching AI with curiosity, along with feelings of hesitation and skepticism. This openness is so important.

Lauren Ledley, Princeton Day School
Carmen Welton, Concord Academy

And so in this process, we're not just learning to talk to machines; we're teaching ourselves the art of adaptation. It's just like life - unpredictable, messy, but incredibly rich with potential. By championing flexibility, we're not only navigating the AI landscape, we're cultivating a classroom culture where every challenge is a stepping stone, and every misstep is a lesson in disguise. It’s what we want our students to grow into as well.

Reframe Your Communication

AI thrives on clear, concise, and specific instructions. When you're stuck, it might be a sign that it's time to reframe your communication with the technology at your disposal. Rethink how you’ve been trying to figure things out. Rewrite your prompt. Try again a new way. Redo how you originally thought of your prompt - and you do all this in the same text box with AI. If you’re not getting what you want, then tell that to AI.

In the example below, you can see the conversation that happens when Amy Choi did not get the output she wanted. She asks for a redo and rethinks her wording.

This is challenging! Communicating to humans is already difficult; navigating it with technology brings a whole new set of hurdles. But here’s the good news - no perfection is required. Take what AI gives you, reframe it within the same place and try again.

Get Feedback

In many of our workshops at GOA, we reference a quote by Grant Wiggins, “Feedback is information about how we are doing in our efforts to reach a goal.” This succinctly captures the essence of feedback in all areas of our work and learning, including our engagement with AI. It's not just about receiving advice or critiques; it's about gaining insights that help bridge the gap between where we are and where we aim to be. Feedback, from peers, mentors, or the outcomes of our interactions with technology, can help guide us through this iterative (and sometimes lonely) process:

Tai Hart, Westminster School

As you can see from these requests for feedback from our Redesign Learning Experiences with AI course, feedback is about leveraging the collective intelligence around us. When we share our work, ideas, or challenges, feedback from others can show paths we hadn't considered, offer solutions to obstacles, and encourage us when progress feels slow. It's a reminder that we're not working in isolation but are part of a community. When you are stuck, just ask for help.


In navigating the complexities and challenges of working with AI, it's clear that the journey is as much about personal growth as it is about technical mastery. Through embracing flexibility, reframing communication, and actively seeking feedback, we not only overcome obstacles but also pave the way for continuous learning and innovation. As we strive to equip our students and ourselves with the skills needed for the future, GOA is excited to introduce a new course, AI: Create Your Own GPT. This course offers participants the unique opportunity to dive deeper into the iterative process of AI interaction by creating their own AI bot. It's a chance to test your patience, apply the principles discussed here, and truly live out the cycle of trying, failing, and succeeding in a supportive, collaborative environment. Join us to explore the vast potential of AI and discover what you can create when you're willing to embrace the journey, one small step at a time.

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This post is part of our Shifts in Practice series, which features educator voices from GOA’s network and seeks to share practical strategies that create shifts in educator practice. Are you an educator interested in submitting an article for potential publication on our Insights blog? If so, please read Contribute Your Voice to Share Shifts in Practice and follow the directions. We look forward to featuring your voice, insights, and ideas.

GOA serves students, teachers, and leaders and is comprised of member schools from around the world, including independent, international, charter, and public schools. Learn more about Becoming a Member. Our professional learning opportunities are open to any educator or school team. Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter. To stay up to date on GOA learning opportunities, sign up for our newsletter.

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