Success is messy, as is learning. Although I love this picture, the one thing that needs to be pointed out is that on both sides of the drawing, the endpoint of the arrow is pointing in the same direction. Towards a better way in the end. Yet in many educational institutions, their “line” would not look like either. It would simply be a plateau where we have done the same things over and over again; no better no worse. We all know what a “flat line” means in the medical profession. Schools can’t mirror that or we might face the same outcome.
Showing 33 posts tagged fail
image via flickr:CC | Mijos
In recent months, authors, school districts, and big thinkers have promoted failure as a valuable experience for young people, specifically students. The premise behind this argument could be valuable, as evidence exists showing students do best when they have space to wrestle and struggle when engaged in trial and error, design-based or problem-based learning. These research-defined terms and approaches have a long and successful history in educational practice and outcomes.
But if that’s the case, why are we pushing the use of such a loaded work like failure in our societal discourse on education? What does using a negative term such as failure as a way of indicating positive traits do to students and schools?
To help your students rethink mistakes, help them be specific about their errors. Knowing that answer #3 is wrong doesn’t mean much. Knowing that they didn’t understand mitosis gives them a mandate for getting better. Often, when we go through tests with students, the mistakes they perceive as dire are either careless errors or a single concept applied incorrectly on several questions. Either way, the “fix” is usually smaller than how big the problem feels.
Inventor James Dyson built 5,127 prototypes before completing his first bagless vacuum. “My life and my day are full of failures,” he says. “Failures are interesting.” Dyson stopped by our studios to discuss innovation, global competitiveness, and his philosophy of engineering and design.
Well what happens when you make a mistake in your school? Do you do everything to hide it or do you take ownership and move forward? There is a difference between making a mistake and being inappropriate and if it is a mistake, similar to the one that was made by JC Penney, taking ownership sometimes gives an educator more credibility than not making a mistake in the first place. Showing the humility that we can all screw up and learn from it, says a lot. Trying to cover up a mistake says something as well.
We’ve heard the importance of failure and experimentation in learning. In this excellent interview on Science Friday, inventor James Dyson speaks about…
Do you think it’s easier to say “Let Kids Fail!’ to schools than parents?
Udacity, the online educator beloved by venture firms, unsuccessfully branched out into offering college credit. Here’s why it failed.
Long story short: If you’re trying to get the best out of your faculties or your students make failure less threatening. Encourage risk taking and a spirit of never-ending intellectual revision by emphasizing the notion that bad ideas are important first steps towards something better.
I want to preface this reply, however, with two points on which I agree with NCTQ: First, while I have seen many strong teacher education programs, there are many others that are very weak and need major improvements. Second, the areas that NCTQ rated — selection, content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and strong connections to clinical training — are important areas of focus. I am pleased that attention will be directed to these critical aspects of preparation.
Two things, however, are most unfortunate: The NCTQ indicators of these standards do not provide an accurate picture of the candidates actually prepared or the opportunities actually offered by these programs, and they provide no information about the outcomes of programs — what candidates actually learn and can do. In addition, based on the inaccuracies that are surfacing for most programs, the data collection was obviously conducted very poorly. It is truly unfortunate for the field of research and the field of teacher education that the development of the data collection were done with so little concern for accuracy. And it is a shame that NCTQ and U.S. News and World Report would publish ratings without even checking the data…
In school, learned helplessness relates to poor grades and behavior problems. Learned helpless children doubt their ability to overcome their academic difficulties.
“My research shows that praise for intelligence or ability backfires,” said Dweck, who co-authored a seminal research paper on the effects of praise on motivation and performance. “What we’ve shown is that when you praise someone, say, ‘You’re smart at this,’ the next time they struggle, they think they’re not. It’s really about praising the process they engage in, not how smart they are or how good they are at it, but taking on difficulty, trying many different strategies, sticking to it and achieving over time.”
But what some might not know is that this paradox is strongest for girls.
Watson’s experience points to a key failure in New Orleans’ lauded landscape of choice-based educational reform: In a city where parental options abound, how many of the choices are reputable ones?
“Fundamentally, the letter of the law is that if they’re in a failing school, then parents ought to be given the option of a better school for their child,” said Adam Emerson, director of the Program on Parental Choice for the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a Washington, D.C., education think tank. “If parents are getting options that aren’t doing any better than what their child is currently in right now, that’s a problem.”
photo via flickr:CC | John Edwards 2008
For students who know what they want and when they want it in terms of online content, MOOCs are a fabulous new option to build and construct personalized learning ecosystems.
Unfortunately, for many learners, MOOCs lack the possibility of mentorship and close guidance that comes through the building of a meaningful relationship between student and teacher.
You see, teachers don’t just teach reading, writing, and arithmetic. We teach responsibility, organization, manners, restraint, and foresight. These skills may not get assessed on standardized testing, but as children plot their journey into adulthood, they are, by far, the most important life skills I teach.
I’m not suggesting that parents place blind trust in their children’s teachers; I would never do such a thing myself. But children make mistakes, and when they do, it’s vital that parents remember that the educational benefits of consequences are a gift, not a dereliction of duty. Year after year, my “best” students — the ones who are happiest and successful in their lives — are the students who were allowed to fail, held responsible for missteps, and challenged to be the best people they could be in the face of their mistakes.
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