Failure Helps us Learn

Another email I received from Gavin McCormack was about how important failure is to kids learning. Ha states that if we design curriculums that avoid failure, students miss out on what it feels like to react instinctively and subsequently miss out on learning from their mistakes.

“Our job as teachers is not to help students pass exams, but to allow them to solve problems hidden from our eyes.”

Let’s design open-ended, self directed, inspiring research topics that allow our children to attempt the impossible. When we take this approach, McCormack says two things can happen:

1. The students fail to solve the problem but learn a lot of valuable lessons along the way.

2. They surprise us all and actually solve the problem at hand.

McCormack says that everyone wins wen we include failure, resilience, determination, persistence and reflection as our learning outcomes.

I personally have witnessed most children whoop for pride and excitement when they persevere and solve their problems. Let’s help our students accept that failure is part of learning. Let’s model that it’s okay to make mistakes, that we make them too and teach them to say, “Oops I made a mistake. I wonder what I can learn from it.”


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