With the new school year starting for me in just over a week I have been thinking about what I want my mantra for the year to be. What is it that will not only raise the achievement of my students, but also that of my own work and the teachers in my faculty. "Fail more often" is going to be my starting point for the year as I think it has the potential to be the path to greater success. This mantra is similar to what was said during my leadership training with Education Changemakers, quite often the program facilitators Aaron Tait and Dave Faulkner would say "Don't worry, be crappy". This idea really resonated with me and fit well with some current reading I have been doing on the Growth Mindset by Dr Carol Dweck.
The idea of failure, no matter how small, is debilitating to lots of people. They would rather not try and avoid failure, rather than give it a go and having the possibility of not being successful. Why is this... because generally as a society we are very intolerant of failure, it becomes a label on the person rather than a commentary on the situation. Instead of "I failed to get this right", the internal dialogue becomes "I'm a failure", instead of "that program didn't really have the intended outcomes" it becomes "They are bad at their job". This view has to change, students need to see that failure is a major component of success, it is not the opposite of success. They need to see that failure is an important part of the learning process and that it is vital to fail if you are going to identify and rectify those areas of weakness.
So why do I think this idea of failure is so important, well I have a few main reasons. You will have to forgive me with this post, I am a bit of a fan of a nice quote and this post is going to contain a few
I am curious to see how this goes and how students and staff respond to my quest to fail more often, but I will comment on this as the year progresses.
Mathematics Coach and Coordinator in Regional South Australia. Current driving the Empowering Local Learners project as a numeracy strategy from pre-school to senior secondary.
Opinions in this blog are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of my employer.