Friday, December 7, 2012

Re-Define Failure: Fail Something Everyday!

Photo: via

If someone never made a mistake, would they have learned anything?  If we want to develop the much-heralded "life long learners" in ourselves and our students, we need to begin to re-frame failure, not as a grade, but as a necessary component for learning. 

Imagine the impact on learning if we asked students, teachers, administrators to fail at something everyday.

Imagine a school day, week, or culture that:
  • Step 1-  Asks everyone to try something new, but it had to be something that they: a) are interested in, and b) believe that they likely would not be able to do successfully. 
  • Step 2- Improve upon that first try and then try again
  • Step 3- Share what they learned with everyone
What would the impact be?  What would your honor roll student choose to do?  Your disengaged students?  Your peers? 

What would you choose?

As long as failure is something that we tell ourselves should be avoided and punished, we are missing daily opportunities to develop the capacity for life long learning and resiliency in our students and in ourselves.