I’ve seen the following picture floating around on Pinterest and really wanted to incorporate this into the first week of school an ice breaker and introduction into learning and growth mindset.
The way school is set up, there is only one correct answer, there are very few ways to get to this correct answer, and students are penalized for failing. The way education is set up now, we are telling students that they shouldn’t fail and if they do, it’s a bad thing. However, failure is a part of life and it’s how we learn and grow. I want to teach this to my students early on so they can adopt a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset.
When this was discussed in A More Beautiful Question, it reassured me that this is something I have to incorporate.This question is important because it bring up an important part of the learning process: failure. A lot of students see failure as a bad thing and try to avoid it at all costs. This has everything to do with how we assign a grade to their learning. When they do fail, they give up instead of using it as an opportunity to learn. Success does not always happen on the first or second or third attempt. It can happen on the one hundredth attempt. Now, school does not aways allow for students to continue to fail until the reach their success. However, this is a life skill we can instill in students that they should continue to strive for success no matter how many times they fail.
I appreciate how Berger (2014) incorporated these follow up questions: “What does failure mean to me: Do I see it as an end state, or a temporary stage in a process? How do I distinguish between an acceptable failure and unacceptable one?” (p. 201). The most important question asked was “What if I fail—how will I recover?” (p. 201). I believe this is one of the most important questions to ask when teaching students. They will fail at some point. But, the learning really happens when they learn from their failure and persevere. Throughout their lives, students have experienced failure in various different forms, but they didn’t get where they are now by giving up after a failure. If we can teach students to not fear failure, maybe then they can shift to a growth mindset and appreciate the learning process.
At the end of this section, the question is revised from What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail? to What’s truly worth doing, whether you fail or succeed? It is mentioned how this is a more realistic outlook on the initial question because failure is inevitable at some point. It won’t at the same point for everyone, but it is possible.
I really think this lesson at the beginning of the year is important for my students to learn. I do plan to have my students participate in the paper circuits quickfire. I want to recreate my experience and have them go through the same thing because it will be a way for me to connect with them and also for me to guide them into what would they do when they come upon failure. I want to show them that even though I am the teacher, I experience failure and it is part of the learning process. I believe this will be a powerful experience for them and me as we begin the school year
Berger, W. (2014). A More Beautiful Question: The power of inquiry to spark breakthrough ideas. Bloomsbury Publishing USA.