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One of the great things about March is the privilege of reading the posts of other people who participate. We grow as a community as we share in one another's lives and ideas. I read this post and was reminded that I have had thoughts on the subject of failure percolating as well. Now the challenge is to see if I can articulate them.
The idea of failing or failure as something we should strive for has gained traction in recent years."Failing forward", as a concept, I can agree with. It is the idea that failure provides the opportunity for growth - the chance to learn from what goes wrong.
As I said, the concept I absolutely agree with; when something doesn't work you don't just throw in the towel. Instead, by trying again (and again and again) you will find a way forward.
What I don't understand is the focus on the word 'failure'. To me failure is giving up and/or not trying. The notion of throwing in the towel, to me, is completely opposite of the concept that has become popular.
I find that encouraging a 'growth mindset' for my daughter and my students is important to their ability to continue to try things. Creating a place where ideas can be tried and massaged and tried again and thrown out for new ideas is what I strive for. When the word 'failure' enters the ring many of my students shut down.
Perhaps it is because nearly all of my students are not native English speakers and their first thought of failure seems to be attached to an 'F' on a report card. Perhaps it is something about how I use the word or frame my ideas. I am not sure.
One example of where we have to discussing failure not being negative is during science experiments. An experiment can fail to prove a hypothesis, thus the experiment is a 'failure', however this does not mean the students have failed! The first time I bring this up I always have at least one student whose eyeballs nearly pop out of their skull and generally it is someone for whom their parents have stressed that it is not acceptable for them to fail, as in 'bring home an F'.
So why the talk of 'failure'? The examples of 'famous failures' are not new examples, but it is only recently that they have been labeled as such. Previously it was about overcoming adversity or following the example of The LIttle Engine Who Could and how to try, try again with the power of positive self talk.
I don't hear or read of anyone else pushing back on what feels like a rebranding to me. What are your thoughts?