In the Work Rules! book, we learn from David Cote, the CEO of Honeywell, that the biggest thing he learned from working as a commercial fisherman was that hard work doesn't always pay off. If you work on the wrong thing, it doesn't matter how hard you work, because it's not going to make a difference.
But trying new things can be risky and result in failure. Even the best of us fail, but what Shea asked us to consider is the response to that failure via the lens of the person failing or the supervisor of the person failing.
Shea and the book share inspiring stories of rewarded failures (p253 - 257), but I was left trying to think about how failures are rewarded in schools and/or administration and I came up short.
Ironically, the next day an innovative #NYCSchoolsTech educator named Christina Basias was featured in the New York Times in an article about how Google has taken over classrooms. There is an excellent 10-slide spread on Basias and her students. Not surprisingly, one of the slides features how failure is rewarded in her practice.
Here it is:
|Check out all the slides here|
In this lesson Christina explained the evaluation "showed her how much trouble the kids were having with the different categories of the sonnet in an honest way." The results show her ways she may consider adjusting her lesson in future and indicates where she can follow up with support for these students.
Christina has re-framed what might be seen by others as failure and transitioned it into an opportunity to improve practice and support student learning.
Some other ways this can be used in the classroom is to give students opportunities to learn from their mistakes. If they have wrong answers, give them a chance to get them right. Allow them to collaborate and use the tech they'd have access to in the real world. It they turn in a project that could be better, allow them to make it better.
Does your school or district reward thoughtful failure? Please share your experience in the comments.