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Ten things #10 – Embrace Failure

This is the final of ten posts that develop some of the ideas I mentioned in my presentation at TMClevedon

This still sounds wrong somehow, doesn’t it – surely we should be encouraging success in our schools, not failure?

Well, yes…. But, if we praise success above all else we can help develop a climate where people are too afraid to even try. Then we get ourselves into all kinds of problems.

As the work of Carol Dweck on others has shown, a growth mindset is one of the most powerful things we can encourage in our students. And we can’t encourage it if we’re not willing to engage with it ourselves. (Have a look at this video if you want a quick but high quality explanation of the difference between growth and fixed mindsets)

I’ve never been overly concerned about making a bit of a prat of myself (as anyone who’s witnessed my dancing in our infamous leavers videos can testify), but if you wanted me to put my finger on a point at which I really started to change my teaching, it was the point at which I stopped trying to be the font of all knowledge and openly accepted that I didn’t know everything.

We started trying things together, my classes and me. Projects that we only had  a vague idea about where they were going to end up. Blank revision wikis that could easily have stayed that way. And by learning alongside the students in the room ( that includes learning when things didn’t go according to plan – and talking about them, not sweeping them under the carpet) that, I suspect, is where the good stuff is.

 

Dave Stacey

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