Candid Classroom – Is it okay to fail?

In education, failure is often seen as something to be avoided at all costs. We fear that it might harm our confidence and hinder our path to success. However, what if we told you that failure can be a stepping stone to natural growth and learning in the classroom? 

Facilitating Failures in Classroom:

A study at Harvard University in 2013 found that teachers who predicted what students might misinterpret had better-performing students than teachers who only taught students what to get right. 

While failures serve as an opportunity for teachers to direct students to success, it is also true that normalizing failures contributes to Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). Students who experience failures under teachers that approve of this embrace are challenged more actively. They collaborate, contribute, fail, and succeed in the end. 

Encouraging failures doesn’t necessarily mean that we shouldn’t care for the correct answers anymore. 

So, how can we accommodate failures while maintaining high standards and quality grades? Here are a few suggestions: 

1. Annunciate that your classroom is safe for students to innovate, try, and fail. 

2. Redefine success. The journey (approach) to finding answers is more valuable than magically landing at the answers. Your grading is the Bible that defines success for your students. 

3. Create scenarios (through assignments) for temporary and controlled failures. 

4. Provide constant feedback. Rather than dumping loads of comments at the end of the session, slip in a note or two after every activity. 

5. Reflect on their failures. In an informal session, give everyone a chance to share their success and failures with the rest of the class. Make them laugh, if possible. 

Accepting that there are correct answers, incorrect answers, and those that have no definite answer is the secret to adequate education and long-lasting learning. And it is upon us to create an environment where the future is not limited to what we already know from the past.

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