Blog Archive

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Failure leads to learning.

This post was written for Larry Ferlazzo as part of a series for Ed week.

Fact: failure leads to learning.

So why are students so terrified of error?

Many students turn in nothing because they aren't satisfied with their work.

“Perfectionists” we label.

Really though, they're just big scaredy-cats.

The fear of failure overtakes all common sense.

The ultimate challenge: turning mistakes into moments to be treasured, examined, and learned from.

There is no magic pill. No easy solution. No one right path.

But anything is possible, when students believe we care.

How do I convince them I care?

With persistence.

Experimentation is my mantra and love is my language. 

Building trust is essential, and insanely difficult (especially with teenagers).

So, I award extra credit for finding my mistakes.

Students often hear me exclaim "I feel smart" or "Oh, I get it now!"

It sounds corny, but modeling how to struggle is vitally important.

We talk about "smart" as a feeling, NOT a state of being.

I model failure constantly, especially with technology.

I model with a smile, a “Please Help,” and a can-do attitude.

We try new things together.

When I hear something I hadn’t thought of, I point it out. 

Loudly and with joy.

The more I trust them to support me, the more they learn to trust me to support them.

Innovation and progress towards mastery receive recognition, reward...grades.

Students know what we’re learning, why we’re learning it, and have a say in how they learn it.

Explicitly teaching growth mindset is another piece of the puzzle.

But before any of that matters, students must believe I love them, even when I'm not crazy about their choices.

They must love me, even when I'm asking them to do something "boring."

They must treat each other with kindness, even if they are social enemies.

We need a classroom culture that is, above all, a safe place.

A place where students learn to provide constructive, not destructive, criticism.

A place where we trust and support each other.

This is the result of consciously putting my heart into my classroom.

Of creating a space filled with love, trust, respect, and innovation.

Of focusing on student growth over content, correctness, or compliance.

Of reaching out to my #PLN (other teachers), to improve together.

And putting your heart into your classroom is the most rewarding way to teach.

Side effect: success redefined as growth.

No comments:

Post a Comment

What do you think? Does this good thing remind you of a story of your own? Have a question or comment? Please leave a comment!