Picture this: your students arrive, ready and eager to learn. You begin teaching a concept, and you tell your students that the concept is tough, that they will work with peers to solve issues, and that they will FAIL in the process. Immediately, the room goes quiet. An uncomfortable silence sets in. Fail?
In today’s schools, students are told if they are not right, they are wrong. They are not always given another chance, because the due date has passed or the test is done and over with. Why are we setting up our school system this way? What about students working together, solving issues, taking multiple attempts to build up their knowledge base? Why are we not allowing students to fail, and learn from their failures, in order to succeed?
In my Wicked Problem Project think tank, we took a closer look at the wicked problem of failure as a learning mode. This is a problem which has many solutions, but the problem lies in discovering what could work best. My group members (Jeff, Sarah, and Kate) and I spent time researching and developed a potential solution to this issue – how to help our students learn from failure. We delved into the development of the growth mindset (and leaving behind the fixed mindset), the benefits of students working collaboratively to tackle problems, the potential of video game technology in helping students to learn and grow, and a shift in our gradebooks to support the growth mindset with standards-based grading.
You can view our curation here, created through Blendspace. You will find information on our visual representation, proposed solutions via a white paper, our brainstorming document where we organized our thoughts, and a mash-up of our recorded conversations and resources.