The potential of success

When I began this blog, I wrote at least five blog entries without even seriously considering publishing. I have a history of beginning blogs and then forgetting about them. I was afraid of continuing this pattern. I was afraid of failing again.

I feel as though this was instilled in me early in grade school. Just like many students, I have fear of the letter F on a report card. I am afraid of failing. It kept my ideas from spreading to those with other great ideas and more experience, and our ideas coming together to find solutions.

I heard a TedTalk by Carol Dweck on the power of “yet” in education. One problem in education is that everyone is on a timeline. This timeline does not factor in the different learning abilities of every student, as each student learns every concept in a different way at a different rate.

Carol Dweck proposed the idea of instead of assigning students a failing grade and demanding they create the course, we assign students a grade of “yet.” The students must retake the course knowing that, instead of failing a course, they have not “yet” mastered a course. The word “yet” provides hope.

I propose we go a step farther. Students master subjects at a variety of different paces, each subject requiring different learning abilities. For instance, I am not a science nor a math person, but I do well in some aspects of these subjects. I propose we have more of a self-paced learning strategy, incorporating a variety of tools including computers, student collaboration, and teacher support. In essence, students learn everything in the same order, as every concept builds on each other. Each mastery is celebrated. But as one student masters a concept, they move on to the next, independent from the rest of the class.

Because of my experience in the current education system, I feared the potential of failure at a new blog, and this kept me from publishing this blog. Students should not fear the potential of failure. Failure is a potential of everyday, but potential success should be more important. In taking risks, breakthroughs can be accomplished. We do not want our students to fear failure and prevent these breakthroughs from occurring.

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