Home > Education > A new way to fail

A new way to fail

July 20, 2005

Why didn’t we think of this before?  Instead of telling school kids they’ve “failed” a course, let’s just say instead that they’ve deferred success” so they won’t feel bad.

Really!  As John Hoke said;  “I am not making this [stuff] up.” 

Luckily someone has the sense to call a halt to it.

(I don’t know whether to file this under “Education” or “Stupidity.”  No wonder John uses “Folksonomies” instead of “Categories.”)

Categories: Education
  1. July 20, 2005 at 21:54 | #1

    One of my readers is also one of your readers and pointed out that you commented on this very.. er… ‘interesting’ article. I’m glad to see there is somebody else around here to call it like it is. :-)

  2. July 21, 2005 at 06:58 | #2

    Heh, If I knew someone would pick up a quote from me, I would have used cleaner language ;)

    It is quite dangerous to allow our kids to think that they are not failing when they do. As I ranted over at the link above.

    I am not saying we should rub their noses in it, and failure should be used as an opportunity to teach those who don’t fail how to win/succeed graciously, as well as those who do not do as well how to lose with honor and try again. Changing the semantics only mask the reality that people do fail, and it is natural…

    And thank you for the link and update on the story!

  3. July 21, 2005 at 21:45 | #3

    Thanks, Nef!  I got a good laugh from your quip: “Perhaps they should change from PAT to EPIC (Educators Proposing Insane Changes)”. :lol:

    Swear away, John; I’ll translate.  People who know me are surprised there isn’t much profanity on my blog, but I’m trying to not get filtered out by schools on the remote chance students or teachers might ever want to visit.

    I like this:

    “Maybe its not the kids that are deferring success, but the nimrods teaching them. Learning how to fail, and to learn from failure is something that needs to be taught and cultivated. We learn more from our failures than our successes, and children need to be encouraged to try things, even if they fail as it helps to open their horizons to new thoughts. Safe thoughts and ideas are typically sterile and dead. It is a lack of fear in failing that allows humanity to make leaps and bounds.”
    - John Hoke, see link above for more

    And this from ***Dave:

    Can you hurt a child with words? Sure. Maliciously delivered words, and sometimes even thoughtless words, can have an effect on people.

    But you can hurt kids, too, by being dishonest with them. Indeed, that’s an even greater hurt, because dishonesty breeds distrust. And distrust undermines any efforts to educate kids, including (or perhaps especially) efforts to make kids feel legitimately good about themselves.
    - ***Dave… definitely go read the rest

    This news item seems to have brought out really good comments from everyone.

  4. Lucas
    July 26, 2005 at 03:00 | #4

    That’s assinine.  In my experience, and the experience of several of my friends, the biggest confidence boost comes from attempting and succeeding at something very difficult.  If the task is difficult, that implies that failure must be a very real possibility.

Comments are closed.