Granted Education

Practical, hands-on strategies to engage and excite learners

Troubleshoot Classrooms

If you fail, does that make you a failure?

Posted by anonymous on July 3, 2014 at 11:50 PM

Success is measured by how well we do in particular tasks, but is rarely measured by how many times we try things. Sadly, in science, we think we are encouraging students to critically analyse what went wrong in an experiment, but rarely do we 'have time' to test those theories by re-doing and trying again, allowing for a deeper understanding or re-evaluation of conclusions.


Have you ever taught students who wouldn't do tasks because they didn't want to fail? It seems like there's an increasing proportion of students who fall into this category - they think they're bad at Maths and don't want to do it because they get things wrong. Even at a yr 8 level, students are instantly expecting to be great at something without having to work hard to develop the skills. Perhaps we need to be rewarding for trying ... not as a watering-down strategy, but to help teach resiliency. This skill can't be measured on any standardised test, but is certainly worth teaching.


I like the flexibility that online learning often offers, where students can take a test as many times as they like, but the pass rate sits closer to 90% as a result. I'm setting up one of my yr 12 Science classes like this and am hoping that the 'try as many times as you like to get 100%' strategy will encourage students to work towards mastery instead of an ordinary pass. If it doesn't work, then at least I know one way not to do it! Here's a link that a friend of mine has recently passed on to me -" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"> - it lets you use existing video (or upload your own), record audio over the top, pause it and add quiz questions for your students to answer.  It looks pretty cool and I'll put a copy of the lesson I'm currently working on so you can see how I went!


A bit about me:


I feel very thankful that I had parents who encouraged me to try things more than once. I grew up in a waterskiing family, where every Sunday was spent at the waterhole. I was skiing before I could walk and every time we were behind the boat, it was a chance to hone our skills. I can distinctly remember a time when I had learnt to do a jump start (I was about 8) and made my way around the normal circuit & back to the bank without getting my hair wet. I thought I was soooo amazing, but dad added that if I wasn't falling, I wasn't trying hard enough. Being the competitive little chicken that I am, I made it my mission to never return to the bank again with dry hair! I'm so glad I had someone to help me challenge my self-imposed safety net so that I could be better.

Thankfully, someone also told these people that failure helps you succeed.


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