Why Teaching Your Students To Fail Is The Only Option
Failure is the only option?
Aren't teachers supposed to help their students crush school, not fail it?
Yes we are. Chill. The failure I’m talking about is of the good variety, because it helps students succeed.
Take Steve Jobs. He was a pretty successful and brilliant dude. Where would we be without iTunes, smartphones, and tablets? Steve’s success though was mainly a result of his attitude toward failure. While brilliant, he failed at Apple the first time around and resigned in 1985. He came back again in 1997 and lead the company out of bankruptcy to the awesomeness that it is today.
Oh, and after first leaving Apple, he founded Pixar and revolutionized movie animation, because he could. He then came back to Apple and crushed it.
How did Steve do it?
He failed a lot. But, instead of crying about it, he learned from his failures.
The path to greatness is filled with failure and only those who take risks, fail, and learn from their mistakes achieve it.
Truth Bomb: Many students are afraid to make mistakes, so they don’t take enough risks in school.
As a result, they never learn to fail forward.
Failing forward is understanding that FAILING DOES NOT MAKE YOU A FAILURE.
If a student sees himself as a failure, he will be a failure. This is because he is training his brain to accept him as a failure. And failure behaviors follow.
So, in order for our students to be successful, we need to help them change how they view failure.
So believe, live, and teach these truths:
- Failure is tough. It’s also unavoidable. I accept it will happen to me and I plan to learn from it.
- Failure is temporary, so I will take risks.
- Everyone fails, but successful people like me view failure as the beginning, not the end.
- The more I fail, the more I succeed.
Here's a classroom example you can use to teach the right approach to failure to help students become better learners.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON FAILURE
Whether in class or studying at home, teach your students to never say “I Don’t Know.”
Encourage them to, at the very least, attempt to answer the question, define the word, or explain the concept. If they’re really struggling, ask them to say something connected to it. Tell them to be wrong now, so they can be right later. Teach them to fail forward.
Truth Bomb: When a student says “I Don’t Know” she tells her brain “Don’t Learn This.”
I’m not ready to accept that. Are you?
You have the power to change the world. Use it often.
The above blog post is a chapter taken out of my book Crush School: Every Student's Guide To Killing It In The Classroom. I wrote it so that teachers can teach students how to learn effectively. It is available on Amazon by clicking here.