Fear of Failure

Fear of Failure

I remember spending way too much time, and money, at the local dairy on Space Invaders; the first 20 cents lasted less than a minute – that was a real incentive to improve! But is this an effective way to learn?

A phrase that I have never embraced is around the idea of failure. The idea that FAIL is the First Attempt in Learning has never sat well with me. We are supposed to be the experts in learning, if our students fail then we have failed. I do not like to see my students fail, it is my belief that all students can achieve. If I have had a student in front of me for 120 hours then I expect that they will have something tangible to show for it. There is no doubt that some students are actively working against us, and themselves, but this is a problem that can be solved by learning conversations, NOT failure.

Our students are conditioned to the idea that if they make a mistake they just start over again. When making a project in Technology there are critical points where if you get it wrong you may be faced with weeks of work to get back to the same place. If you cut a piece of wood too short there is no App to fix it!

So we need to build resilience in our students and celebrate failure. I had a Year Nine student clamp his footstool together using the wrong clamps resulting in it being completely ruined. This student recognised his mistake and was happy to start again. This is a story that I need to tell and celebrate in my class. It tells the story of resilience and setting high standards and ensuring those standards are met.

I have had, possibly mistakenly some may say, the belief that it is my job to ensure that students enjoy success. I believe that students need to taste success in the early stages as otherwise they just give up. Casino’s and on-line game producers know this for fact.

As a technologist I am the expert in the room with the knowledge of Pedagogical Content Knowledge where I know how to create a learning environment that creates success. It is my belief and goal that if we want our students to be successful they have to taste and experience success and also see it being role modelled by their favourite technology teacher.

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