Saturday, November 22, 2014

#Teaching #Failure to build #Emotional #Resilience

Top school runs failure week so pupils can learn from flops
A top private school is seeking to improve the performance of its pupils by getting them to experience failure.
Fettes College in Edinburgh has held a "failure week" to encourage pupils to embrace risk, build resilience and learn from mistakes.
As part of failure week, pupils were encouraged to try something they would not normally do, such as play an instrument in front of an audience or perform a juggling display or a magic trick.
Teachers, parents and visiting experts have also spoken to pupils about their personal failures and how they turned them into positives.
Pupils have learned about the early failures of notable figures such as author JK Rowling and entrepreneur Richard Branson.
Earlier this year, a study in the British Journal of Educational Psychology found a fear of failure at school can influence students' motivation and negatively affects their attitude to learning.
Growing awareness of the issue led to teachers from a West Dunbartonshire secondary recently being asked not to accentuate the positives in pupils' talent. Instead, staff at Vale of Leven Academy, in Alexandria, have been told to applaud the effort and determination that goes into school work.
Sue Bruce, head of personal and social education at Fettes, which charges more than £30,000 a year for a boarding pupil, said the school wanted students to understand failure was a huge part of success.
She said: "If they let the fear of failure stop them from doing something, they are actually stopping themselves from learning, developing and potentially succeeding.
"Young people today from all walks of life live in a high-pressure environment where they are striving to achieve a level of perfection that is simply untenable.
"Within schools like Fettes, we understand that pupils want to be the best that they can be and there are pressures from family, friends and staff to achieve so we want our pupils to have realistic goals and learn how to manage these pressures."
Alastair Armstrong, the school's director of teaching and learning, said the initiative was to ensure pupils had experienced failure before they left so they were better equipped to handle it in the wider world.
He said: "By teaching them about failure now, they can learn emotional resilience and how to turn what might appear to be a setback into a springboard for future progress."
The project was praised by academics and campaigners who said the issues raised should be embedded in schools.
Moyra Boland, a senior lecturer from Glasgow University's School of Education, said education systems had traditionally reinforced failure as a negative from primary school upwards, with teachers marking work with either a tick or a cross.
She said: "Children need a strong sense of self-reliance and they need to have the emotional resilience to attempt new things because we learn more by failure than we do by success.
"People have to learn about failure and value failure by recognising that it is the key to success. Building a culture where failure is part of the educational process rather than something that is to be avoided is very important and all teachers should be embracing that."
Carol Craig, head of the Scottish-based Centre for Confidence charity, said: "Parents have a notion that if their children fail at something they have to protect them from it because of the view that it will damage them, but they are actually undermining their resilience.
"I think it is a particular issue for top-performing and fee paying schools because a lot of the pupils there, particularly girls, have extremely high aspirations, but are also perfectionists and therefore cannot deal with failure."