Let them fail!

We need to teach students how to learn from mistakes and failures and not be defeated by them.

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"A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery."-James Joyce

I am often frustrated by how quickly my students give up on a concept if it is challenging or doesn't come to them easily.  I think as a result of pressure to be an all-star in order to get into college, students don't take risks or try new things that may be challenging; this leads them to only stick with safe or easy options.  As a consequence of that, students lack resiliency and will give up over trying again.  I think this has a huge impact on student success in college and causes kids to limit their own opportunities. 

I want to teach students how to learn from their mistakes and see them as opportunities for growth rather than crushing defeats. 


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Angela - YES. Fear of failure is such a barrier. As you build on this idea, I'd love to see - what are the designable opps to help students better *learn* from failure - rather than be defeated by it? 

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I like the idea of a video game mindset (mentioned in the article Jenn posted), where students have the chance to try again if they don't accomplish their goal on the first try.  It's is more encouraging and a concept that students are comfortable with based on their experience outside of the classroom.  I'm not sure of where exactly, but I do know that this concept has been applied to classrooms before. 

I also think it is incredibly important to educate the parents/guardians and faculty about the importance of letting their students make mistakes in a safe environment so that they learn how to recover from it before moving on to the "real world" where they could make even bigger mistakes.  In the Cult of Pedagogy article about The Gift of Failure, she talked about a school making that book a reading assignment to families to help introduce them to the culture of failure.  

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Angela Rohan Think you're on to something re: gamification. I was just at a conference and there were a group of teachers talking about MineCraft as a learning too. Even instagram - and it got me thinking: what if MineCraft could have a college edition. I don't really know anything about MineCraft - but I learned yesterday that it has a lot to do with perseverance, and problem-solving. Could be cool to see you build this idea into a one pager on "college-readiness: the game" - and your idea could be for a brand new game. OR - it could be on how to use an existing game to teach important soft skills that help students graduate from college. 

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