FAILURE

22 Sep

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One thing that troubles me today with my students indeed my own daughter, sorry Charlotte, is their fear of failure. I was thinking “What happens when a student takes a risk and fails? How do you respond when a student makes a mistake – especially a character mistake like lying? Do you punish and push kids out of your room for poor character? Or, do you coach them to critically analyze their actions?”

Without a safe, supportive emotional climate, students will not be able to learn from mistakes or take risks. We cannot get authentic growth unless students feel safe being authentic.

Perhaps as role models we must illustrate or admit to our own failures more frequently. Be authentic and reveal your own mistakes – even in-the-moment – and model what it looks like to show integrity, grit, and ownership. Admit that a lesson didn’t go well because you didn’t spend much time planning it?

This modelling is crucial for many reasons. First, it provides examples of character for students who may not have great role-models. Second, it establishes trust by showing that we are all human. Third, in creating that relational trust our students will understand and forgive our mistakes, we create a culture of accountability. They know we are human. They know we also must make mistakes. As parents and teachers we must admit we are infallible.

What is your experience?

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4 Responses to “FAILURE”

  1. Karen Boyes September 22, 2015 at 9:31 pm #

    HI Andrew – have you explored Carol Dweck’s work on Mindset – I am more and more seeing my son as having a fixed mindset and not wanting to fail – fascinating stuff!!

    • andrewmurray2013 September 22, 2015 at 10:02 pm #

      No I have not Karen. Will take a look. Big issue in our schools I think

  2. Jo Smith October 2, 2015 at 1:04 am #

    Hey Andrew. A timely post with all the work going on around the teaching of growth mindsets at the moment. I completely agree with you about modelling that failure is ok and building relational trust with our students. We’re only human and they should be able to see that we too, can make mistakes.
    What I find interesting is that many perceive behavioural mistakes to be different from academic mistakes. But in the end it’s all part of learning and growing up, isn’t it?

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