Failure is Inevitable and Important

Teaching students how to get back on the horse, not fear it

Failure is an inevitable and necessary part of the learning process, but it’s a part that we fear. Our feelings around failure can sometimes overpower good teaching and learning techniques. For example, sometimes we’re so afraid of students failing that we inflate grades or give extra credit points for things that have nothing to do with learning.

At other times our fear of failure can lead us to avoid important conversations with students. We might not know how to give constructive feedback at critical moments and instead leave it up to the final grade to communicate with them. In this way, we make failure only a final judgement instead of a helpful part of the process.

In this series of posts, we explore how failure can be invited into the classroom and used as an important step in each child’s learning.

Celebrating Failure
In the first post, we talk about how to make it safe to fail in the classroom.

Failing Toward Success
In the second post, we discuss how to fail with a purpose. Making failure ok can’t be the end goal or we end up with a culture of mediocrity, so how do we use the failure for good?

Guiding the Aftermath of Failure
In the third and final post, we set out a simple 3-step cycle that encourages students to take risks and learn from their failures.