This is an honest question, do you allow failure in your classroom? Do you encourage failure in your classroom?
It is my belief that we do not do enough today to teach students how to work through failures. Instead we teach them to accept failure as an indication of ability. I believe strongly that educators need to look closely at the nature of how grading and daily practices hurt learners.
My opinion is that giving zeroes and penalizing students with grades is one of the two biggest problems in education today. Understand that I believe students should be taught responsibility and accountability. I believe that students should be held accountable for their actions, but I do not believe they should be punished over and over when it comes to learning.
Currently students start with a grade of 100 and then get points taken away. As Paul Anderson describes in the video, "Using Game Design to improve my classroom," this practice lacks common sense. Students have to be measured and a standard has to be set. The problem is this method often times kills any drive a student would have toward learning. Continual failing does nothing to motivate a student.
Teachers need to come up with ways to encourage that mastery of content is clearly taking place. This is difficult due to many factors. This often leads to the second biggest problem with traditional practices. Teachers often work hard to ensure that classes are paced the same. In an effort to streamline tasks, educators pace all students in a class and often all classes within the day the exact same way. At times this even means that class time is wasted as teachers do not want one class to get too far ahead of the others. This lost time cannot be made up. The alternatives are logistical nightmares. Lab setups, grading timelines, planning time, and so much more create the perceived need for common pacing.
Unfortunately not all students learn the same and at the same pace. So if they are not ready "in time," they fail, that grade sticks with them, and often they do not go back and master the missed material. The video below is an interesting solution to so many bigger issues. Could this solution work in every classroom? Of course not, but it does show that with some innovative teaching ideas students can be given some interesting alternatives.
Are you an innovative teacher? Do you have ways to ensure that you are producing independent thinkers? We would love to hear your examples and encourage you to share them with others. We also encourage you to share your opinions on topics posted here on the blog. Notice his lessons are not based around technology, instead technology is used in ways to enhance and encourage students to think on their own. Are you teaching your students how to fail, or are you teaching them how to overcome failures?