Now more than ever, educators are aware that accepting failure can help students inside and outside the classroom. But with tests season upon us, the word “failure” seems to have no place in the classroom. Nevertheless, Ben Johnson from Edutopia, encourages us to talk about failure.
If educators truly believe in the power of failure, what would it look like in the classroom? Johnson, advocate of student-directed learning, writes that a classroom based on failure would encourage trail and error. Inquiry-based learning uses failure to its best advantage by making sure there are multiple opportunities for students to improve.
A teacher who embraces failure will teach students to learn from their mistakes by applying a process known as “plan-do-study-act”. In this process,students plan ahead and if during the process they find and error, they start over with a different plan. Next, they ask others what they did and get more information, while also looking at examples of similar problems. Finally, they act to either complete the task or start over with a different approach.
When teachers adopt this practice, a correction or feedback in a project will no longer signify defeat to our students. Instead, says Johnson, it will signify an opportunity to go back to concept and discover the error in thinking. Encouraging students to engage in an iterative learning process.