Maybe it is the wine speaking, but right now, this feels like the truth. “We” as a society made failing something negative. It isn’t.
Today, I asked a question in class. One of my 4th graders mentioned that she wasn’t even going to try. I asked her why not? Her reply? Because I might get it wrong.
This is setting off fire works in my brain. Its the answer to so many things that feel wrong with school today. Parents schedule their kids to death or don’t make it feel safe for the kids to fail. They’ll do anything in their power to argue, persuade, or outright bully others in order to put their kids ahead. Why? Because they’re scared to fail. The kids have learned helplessness because the parents are scared the kids won’t be successful. The kids have learned that failing or making mistakes is terrible.
We give grades, so kids don’t feel like they’re learning, because they didn’t get a high score. Standardized testing have given even more “data” that shows what kids didn’t learn. The kids internalize those scores as self-worth or how intelligent they are. We have test, upon test, upon test, all making the kids feel like they aren’t doing good enough, hence all the tests.
It broke my heart. Learning is all about trial and error. We’ve created an environment where errors count more than the successes. No one is happy or thriving in that environment. Yet, we’re told we need to do more and more and more because of the failure to thrive.
Even in the “adult” world, any sign of stumbling is seen as a negative. Say the wrong word, because your point was something else and someone got triggered? Be prepared to hear all the ways that you should hate yourself, rather than a gentle reminder that a mistake was made. Fuck up on something you were supposed to do? Prepare to hear about how you suck.
It makes me sad. Can we please go back to failing being a method that didn’t work rather than a label about someones’ entire being? Thanks for my Fred talk, because I’m not eloquent enough for a Ted Talk. Don’t care though, because, I realize it is okay to make mistakes. How do we go about, as a society, getting back into this mindset? I wish I had answers instead of questions.
We need a “rant – in general” flair option.