Module 10 Outcome C: The student celebrates children’s success and supports exploration.
170-297-6575 Activities to promote child growth and development.
By the time children are school-age, though, they have received lots of different messages about learning and error. They are aware of the things they can do, but they also may have decided that there are certain things that they just can’t. Like figuring out fractions, or reading fluently, or trying something new and challenging. Those who excel in academics may think that they have to always be right in order to be worthy people. By the time they are in school, many children avoid failing by any means possible, despite the fact that this deprives them of the opportunity to learn.
There are many things that you can do to help children feel that failing is OK, and that it is safe to stretch, try new things, and even look foolish in your program. First, you can be a model. You can talk to children about times when you failed at something, and what you learned from that. You can admit when you don’t know something, but ask them to help you find out. You can try new things, like a new dance that all the fourth-graders are doing, and not worry about looking silly.
You don’t have to pretend that this always feels great, or that there aren’t ever negative consequences to failure. Talk about the feelings that go along with failure - fear, frustration, disappointment, embarrassment. Be honest about these feelings. And be clear that the important thing is trying. You aren’t encouraging children to fail a test because they didn’t study. But emphasize the importance of effort and resilience.
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