Cultivating An Environment that Supports Failure For Success

Amanda Morgan of Not Just Cute hits the nail on the head with her conjecture that, "when we invite children to learn something new, we are...inviting them to be brave enough to fail, so that they can learn to succeed". For many children and adults, this can be a tall order. If we want our students to be successful learners and people, cultivating an environment where failure is an accepted part of growth is not just important, it is a necessity. Affirming Through Reaction

How students handle failure has a lot to do with how we react to their shortcomings. Here are some positive steps for affirming students in the midst of defeat:

  • When students fail, they're likely to feel angry, ashamed, silly, and a whole host of other emotions. Validate and empathize with their feelings instead of ignoring them. For instance, if a child is running in the hallway, knowing they're not supposed to, then trips and falls, instead of the knee-jerk instinct to yell, your response could model the following, "Wow, that must have been scary. You fell pretty fast. Can you show me where it hurts?"
  • Once you've validated their feelings, reinforce the lesson you'd like them to learn. Returning to the previous example of running in the hallway, continue with, "Remember how we discussed that running in the school building is dangerous? There are so many things going on that it's easy to slip and get hurt. I want to keep all of you safe, so next time lets remember to stay in line and walk politely through the hallway. Do you think you could do that?"

If we keep our responses calm, affirming student failure through validation and lesson reinforcement, we'll cultivate an environment that sets students up for success!

Be sure to check out Morgan's full post for other great ideas!

Learning to Be a Successful Failure « Not Just Cute

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