The Flawed Foundation of Failure

School is, or should be the place to fail because it is at the junction of failure where a unique opportunity to learn collides with a heightened sense of alertness and attention.

It is problematic that the dialogue over learning in the formal environment persists in looking scornfully at failure. Being that time of the year in South Africa when we are dissecting student performance and where we begin the waiting process of the national Grade 12 results, it becomes clear, yet again, that we do not look kindly on failure.

Consolingly, motivational initiatives, from small snippets on social media to Ted Talks and blogs that seek to bolster confidence are accessible and it healthily combats the negativity of failure.

But it is not enough. Man cannot live by motivational snippets alone. Authenticity of encouragement must be embedded in real relationships which are strengthened over time to turn the culture of disdain for failure into a culture of truly learning from failure.

Man cannot live by motivational snippets alone.

As long as schools are structured around artificial interactions where acquistion of knowledge and the testing thereof form the sole basis of learning, our young people will be imprisoned by the fear to fail, even if the requirement for success is lowered.



One thought on “The Flawed Foundation of Failure

  1. I couldn’t agree more with existence of looking down on failure with disdain. The check point mechanisms at strategic, I’ll say for lack of a better word to use, have been removed which helped to diagnose level of competence or lack of rather at the earliest possible stage. Std 5 (Intermediate Phase) and Std 8 (Senior Phase).
    This also helped to keep everyone on their toes and accountable for their products. When a team hearts a lot about losing it ends up losing. A mind shift is needed

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