Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Failure as a Detour on the Road to Success

Failure quote via and
This is one of my favorite posters from Krissy Venosdale because I could not agree more. Failure is a necessary part of the learning process and it's unrealistic to make failure a final consequence.  

Because I teach gifted students, I believe that struggle and failure is a very important of my classroom. Often times, these students breeze through elementary, middle school, and even high school.  When they get to college or enter the real world and experience struggle or an epic fail, they do not know how to react.  They've never had the realization that struggle can lead to learning. Instead, they simply see it as failure.

Image result for detour sign
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The other day I was driving home and came across a detour sign.  And guess what?  I didn't stop and sit at the sign as if there was no other way home.  Instead, I followed the signs, took a different route, and arrived at home.  The result was the same.  I still made it.  It may have taken longer, been inconvenient, and a little frustrating but I made it.  By taking the detour, I saw parts of our town that I had never seen.  I was able to experience new things and look at the situation from a different perspective.  Ultimately, I reached my destination even though the route didn't look like I had planned. 

What if instead of seeing failure as a consequence or end result, students saw it as a detour, a different way of reaching their destination? Failure should be an opportunity, a necessary detour on the trip toward success.  Without this part of the learning process, we are giving our students the impression that there is only one road that leads to achievement.  In doing so, we are providing a distorted view that gives a false impression.

In my classroom this year, I hope to give my students opportunities to fail often.  I want them to struggle, fail, learn, succeed, and repeat.  I want them to see me do the same.  In doing so, I hope to provide them with the tools that they need to do amazing things.  I hope to give them the skills that they need to persevere through struggle and ultimately learn through the failure.  

This is one of my favorite things about Genius Hour.  Students are determined to work through failure because they are passionate about what they are studying.  They begin to see that struggle and failure can lead to wonderful learning opportunities.  As a result, they gain the ability to see failure as so much more than a final consequence.

In education, we must stop portraying failure to be a that final consequence.  It's time to be real and allow our students to learn from their struggles.  Let's open up alternate routes and encourage our students to simply see failure as a detour.  Because when we do, we will be leading them toward success.



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