“Failure is not an option.”
“Failure is just the first attempt in learning.”
“Failure is something we should protect all children from.”
“We learn more from failure than success.”
Failure is a complicated state of being. The traditional approach to failure is one that sees it as a permanent state; something that should be avoided, as the consequences of failure could leave you, those you work with, your students, and even your school or community in an unrecoverable state. This form of failure breeds fear, hesitancy, complacency, and helps drive many systems of practice. Failure as defined by those with a more flexible mindset is a state in which great learning can take place; opportunities for developing resiliency and mechanisms for coping with failure within schools can be a powerful lesson that students can use the rest of their lives.
Why is it then, that we tend to feed and fear the traditional sense of failure, replicating it through our school systems, business structures, and other elements of mainstream society? How do we break away from failure as a permanent state of “bad” and use it as an opportunity for growth, learning, and personal betterment? How do we strengthen our resolves to face failure in the future where larger scale failure may in fact have consequences that are more more dire than the learning happening in a classroom?
Jeff Kupperman and Pagan Poggione, organizers for the upcoming University of Michigan’s Institute for Innovation in Education Gathering, led us through a fascinating conversation about failure, and how to see it through a different lens within our schools.
If you have trouble viewing the archive of the chat below, you can view the entire Storify archive here.
A chat about failure in the classroom, overcoming it, and getting better at facing it in the future.