The truth hurts but it’s a powerful stimulator for growth. When somebody tells us a truth that we don’t like we may at first be offended, angry or upset but those feelings usually lead to a period of reflection and that gets us moving forwards. We come back stronger and more capable.
When a student does something that falls short of your expectation, what do you do? Our instant reaction leads us to say “Well done”. But the work wasn’t good enough, was it?
Pause. Think. What were you expecting to see? How does this work compare to that expectation? How are you going to use the truth to get that student to a stronger position? Then just come out and say it!
Please note: it’s important to create a culture in which failure is expected and celebrated. You must openly talk about failure with your students and about the way that repeated failures can often lead to success. Discuss the way failure makes you feel and how you should deal with those emotions, accepting them as OK and knowing that you have taken a step closer to mastery.
Demetri Martin, author of ‘This is a book’, describes success brilliantly with this diagram:
Have you shown your students this diagram? Draw it on the board one day and let them talk about it then see where the discussion goes.
Let me know how you get on in the comments.