Fail More; Fail Faster

Returning from micon12, the summer conference hosted by the Martin Institute in Memphis, has led me to synthesize the message of the conference into four words, Fail More, Fail Faster. In education, we have to build opportunity for kids to fall short. The growth and learning that comes from failing are incredible and we can't deny these opportunities for any of our kids. We need to support and structure the failure, but we need to help students embrace it. A recent New York Times article provides these questions for teachers and others to build these skills. 


What is “failure”? What is “success”? Who defines each?

When have you ever failed, by your own definition?

How do you deal with failure?

Can failure be useful? Can you think of examples, from your own life or someone else’s, when it has led to something positive?

How is failure defined and dealt with in your family, your school, the activities you do outside of school, among your friends and in your community? Which of those definitions and responses to failure seem fairest or best to you? Why?

What can be done to avoid failure? Should people try to avoid it?

How can people recover from failure?

How have you been failed by others?

Where do you see failure in society around you?