It’s very simple.
We want our students to be creative, critical thinkers.
We want them to be brave and try new things.
Thus and therefor!
We have to create an environment in which failure is OK.
Typically, we give students tests with right and wrong and answers. We ask them questions in class and if they raise their hand with the wrong answer, what is our response? The way we respond determines how often students will raise their hand in the future.
Creating Space for Failure
So how do we make room for failure in the classroom?
- Ask open-ended questions
- Welcome different ideas. When students have aberrant ideas, talk about the thought behind them.
- Ask students to make an argument for an idea that wasn’t their own
- Pair students who have different ideas
- Allow students to explore an idea even if you know it leads to a dead end
Great ideas aren’t obvious. They don’t get generated while answering closed questions. Great ideas come out of inquiry, discussion, and the courage to risk being wrong.
See the next post in our series on failing: Failing Toward Success
(Originally created as a newsletter in November ’14)