I would go a step further and say not only is failure acceptable but it should be seen as inevitable.is no right answer. However repeated failure with no realistic hope of success is clearly not a good thing, so how do you find a balance?
George ends his blog post with:
I don’t celebrate failure but it should be seen it as inevitable in a risk taking business.Is the opposite attitude prevalent in education? Is there is a tendency to avoid even the possibility of failure? Are we unduly interested in risk-avoidance? It seems to me that education is not a risk-free activity. If everything is kept to small, easily achievable steps, we may minimise the possibility of failure, but we may also miss the excitement of the big success. Why do people do crosswords, suduko, jigsaws etc? It's not because they are easy - quite the opposite. It is the possibility of failure that makes these activities interesting and the possibility of success that keeps us trying to solve them.
However, even as I write this post, I worry about two possibilities. Firstly, I wonder if I am too far away from the classroom and therefore too unrealistic in my expectations. "Its alright for him, he doesn't have parents, and senior management, and inspectors breathing down his neck looking for exam results!" I fear there is some truth in these accusations. Also, as I consider my own teaching, I realise how rarely I take risks myself and I'm not sure how often I ask students to do something knowing that they might fail. Physician heal thyself! I clearly need to think about this more carefully in relation to my own teaching.
Secondly, I wonder if I'm being too pessimistic. Perhaps there is more risk taking going on in education than I think. I am not suggesting that we have to be taking risks all day every day, so there may well be parts of the term, or particular projects, where the potential for failure exits. Have you any examples of where you have taken risks? Can you share your successes... and perhaps just as importantly, your failures?
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