Schools are great at celebrating success and achievement, but they seldom celebrate failure.
Part of the workshops I have been running here in Mumbai have been focused on assessment particularly formative assessment. Too often, and particularly in the Senior schools, we have tunnel vision that is aimed and targeted on the final examinations that lead to qualification. There is a encompassing focus on summative assessment and schools celebrate the success of their students in these. The celebration is absolutely and completely justified, we should and must celebrate such successes.
But we also must celebrate failure. We must celebrate it as a vital part of the learning process. We must celebrate it as the opportunity it is to learn, develop and grow.
I feel that to often our schools are failure adverse and with that they also become risk adverse as well.
Failure presents our students with an opportunity to learn, an opportunity that we as teachers must seize to provide formative assessment – the timely, appropriate and honest feedback that enable and faciliate development and learning. For many of our students failure is the point that they give up or stop. We must make it a point that they try again.
Having a culture in our schools that accepts, cherishes and celebrates failure as a learning opportunity would encourage risk taking and with risk taking acceptance that it doesn’t always work out.
Having this culture promotes resiliance, as we accept that you make mistakes, your experiments fail, but you don’t give up you start again and learn from your mistakes and learn from your failures.
With such a culture in the classroom we will develop the scientists, inventors, leaders, business people, poets, authors, musicians,
Original image from Trekking in Nepal
sportmen and women and explorers & adventurers that we look up to, whom we honour as role models and hero; whom we aspire to follow. Not one of these people reached the lofty goals they strived to without failing, falling and making mistakes, but each and everyone of them learned from their mistakes and failures.
Yes, we must celebrate success, but we must also celebrate FAILURE.