Failure is essential

Credit: Richie Jr, age 5

We all have to accept that failing is a necessary part of learning. I believe that a student’s mindset regarding failure affects their potential for improvement. For example, the student who views everything they do as practice or as a draft will keep coming back to improve and take more pleasure in the process. The student who is focused only on finishing first or winning will never reach their potential.

The solution is to train students to create drafts i.e. every piece of work they do is a draft (draft 1, draft 2, draft 3 etc). For more ideas on this watch Austin’s Butterfly. In the video you’ll see the power of the drafting mindset at work. It’s a must see!

So how does this work in your classroom? You must openly talk about it and train your students to embrace it. You have to be constantly telling your students what learning looks like and that failure is an expected and welcome part of the process. No piece of work is ever ‘finished’ or ‘done’ but instead you can reward students for the improvements they make after receiving feedback.

Make it routine

I see the drafting mindset as a classroom routine. This is because the drafting mindset needs to be worked on every day or it dies. A great teacher is always coaching, always looking for ways to build grit and resilience in the person, focusing strongly on developing that individual’s mindset and their love of the learning process. Developing that love of the process is what turns average learners into great ones.

So, from the beginning it looks something like this. Set your students up for a great piece of work by telling them that they are going to draft [piece X] a minimum of three times. After each completed draft they will receive feedback from either yourself or a classmate then use that to complete the next draft. Remind them that the name of the game is improvement and being the absolute best that they can be at this piece of learning. Then take a deep breath and prepare to see it through, no backing down, no wimping out, no feeling sorry for them. Just the very highest expectations and some great feedback.

Let me know how it goes in the comments.

Good luck!





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