A tagline on a tee shirt shop that I went to in JB yesterday proclaimed the above caption. It just made my brain juices think, can't we just tolerate failure? Are we becoming a society of 'no-failure acceptors' to the point that failure is seen as an indication of one's inability to plan or pre-empt well. Once there is a failure, you'll be doomed!
I went for a brain-based workshop on how to teach very effectively in a classroom two days back. I must say, it must be one of the MOST, if not THE most fantastic training workshop that I've been to so far...really inspiring methods and ways to engage my young learners. Hope that I'm able to 'practicalise' them in my classes. Try I will, and failures I will make and hope to learn from. The question will be, will others be willing to accept my failures even though I've tried.
Which brings me back to the need on accepting failures in the classroom, specifically. The thing is, are we as educators, engaging ourselves in activities that does have a certain probability of failure? Or have we become a bunch of wussies (no disrespect intended here) to the point that we will only be involved in something that will be a definite 'non-failure'? On the other hand, do we need to have failures in our lives, or as part of our experieces, in order to 'qualify' ourselves as 'successful coaches' to our students and others? Hmmmmm.
During my recent volunteer training to my 3M parents, I did mention about the concept of a "successful failure". A term coined by NASA engineers after their infamous incident in the Apollo 13 programme, this term I believe, do aptly capture the kind of failure that all of us should be afraid to accept, i.e. making a real and honest failure, learning from them, and then not to repeat these same faiures, or prescibed to the conditions that will result in the same failures again. I quoted the story of Sir Thomas Edison, and his tedious, untiring efforts to pick the most suitable material for his filament. After about 3000++ materials and over several years, he finally found the one that he was looking for. Interviewed later on why doesn't he give up even after 2000 materials, his reply was that, "Now I know that these 2000 materials will not work." Can we as educators do that? I am aware on the little or almost no-margin of error that most of us will have to live with in our job capacity, but should the fear of failure always restrict us to the 'prescribed or time-and-tested' methods and archaic didactic approaches, that we have been so accustomed to. How can we ask our charges to think beyond or even outside the box, when our mental models are still within our own pathetic boxes?
My personal take on this is that the failure of failure is when we are NOT able to transform our failures into a successful failure, and thus eventually, into a successful success!
So what have you learnt today...?