Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Been a busy week with little time for reflection but of course there are a few tidbits that I want to share. Jian Gomeshi had a couple of authors on who had both written books about failure and what that does or does not do for a person. The prevailing wisdom says we all learn more from our failures than from our successes and these folks also tell us that we are hurt by our failures more than the previous researchers were saying. I have failed at a number of things over the years, some that others know about and some that I have never openly talked about. I don't hear many of my generation speaking of their own failures. We are too busy talking about everybody else's I guess. Students who do really well in school tend to be susceptible to the trauma of failure if and when it strikes them but I know the long term effects of early failure or consistent failure too. We do talk about kids who always get A's having problems when they get to university if they do not continue to get A's. Well maybe its simply their turn to experience failure. Those of us who do not get A's all the time in school experience these feelings at a younger age when they can be as long lasting. And despite what the popular perception is, kids still feel the sting of failure in school--they know when they are not doing as well as their peer group. We pretend they are protected from that but they seldom are. So what do a number of these A students do if they continue to be successful in receiving A's in university?? They usually become professors. I believe that's what also happens to most high school teachers--certainly the ones who teach the maths, sciences and the literature courses. They too stay where they had the most success and continue for the most part to do to students what was done to them. This is likely why it is so difficult to get change at the high school level. It would be an interesting experiment to only hire teachers at the high school level who have failed a year or struggled to get all their credits. Would our kids who end up in high school still struggling get a chance to get ahead?? I wonder.

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