We’ve created a generation of kids who are so scared to fail that they’ve decided to not even try

We've created a generation of kids who are so scared to fail that they've decided to not even try

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.

Which is better these days?
SchoolHome education

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.

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Comments: 5
  1. patrickandrachelnard

    No one cheats more than honors students (from what I’ve seen). The reason: they are the most terrified of academic failure

  2. stillcantshoot

    I’ve also seen a genuine lack of curiosity. They want step by step instructions rather than fucking around and finding out.

  3. Goodperson

    It’s easier to have someone else do the thinking. They rather save their energies for their cell phones and other media consumption devices.

    1. jagdmackay

      While I do agree and understand what you are saying, as a student, most kids do want to learn/ enjoy learning. I used to absolutely love school because to me learning was fun. Now because of the amount of pressure being a freshmen plus the pressure of a entire pandemic it’s difficult to want to learn. Growing up I was so scared of not knowing the answer to a question or not understanding a lesson or concept that I decided to not ask for help because asking for help meant that I wasn’t smart enough. My grades showed that. Especially during virtual learning, I couldn’t focus. There was so much going on that it was easier to not do work at all then to do it and fail. That has become the mindset of a good chunk of students.

  4. lushlilli

    Study after study demonstrates that cell phone usage has a dramatic impact on attention span, short term memory and executive decision making. Add undiagnosed ADD, social anxiety and general skill gaps, it’s more amazing all the students aren’t more crippled. I think it becomes easier to tune it all out rather than develop the necessary skills to manage all the chaos modern society has created in their lives. Educators are also failing to meet students in their preferred areas of learning. A lot of educators still teach as if the internet, mobile computing and interactive media doesn’t exist. I’d be bored too in that environment.

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