The resiliency that we learn from failure is something that we want our students to gain too. However, they are plunked in a system where failure is seen as an “f-word.” It’s one that they want to avoid at all costs.
This creates an attitude of risk-avoidance, something that sometimes prevents students from really learning and growing.
We can’t do much to change the system, but we can work to change our students’ attitudes. And of course, we do want them to avoid failing assessments and courses, but there are several things we can do along the way to teach them that failure is instructive and not evil.
We can create a learning environment where they can stretch and grow on the road to those grades that “count.”
So how do we do that? How do we prevent the fear of failure in our students?
For me, formative assessment is the answer. When we give kids a chance to use descriptive feedback to improve their work, they are going to learn more. They are going to be more willing to take a risk because they know that they can try again.
Now, I’m pretty sure that I know what some of you are thinking: this just sounds like more work, and I already have too much to do. I get it. That was me before I embraced this approach. Now I am a convert, and I want to share some time-saving strategies with you.
I’ve already written many blog posts on the topic, but I’ve collected and organized them here so you can find them more easily:
Tame the Grading Beast: Work Smarter, Not Harder:This post has a collection of techniques that I’ve learned to make the grading process more efficient and effective.
Grade Student Responses Quickly:This post gives you tips for faster – and better – feedback when you’re grading journals or notebooks.
Make Feedback Descriptive and Meaningful: This process is key if you really want to feed your students forward.
Redos: An Essential Part of the Learning Process: I used to avoid these like the plague; now, they are an essential part of the learning process in my room. Read how I do it without making myself crazy.
Five Reasons to Start Conferencing Now: There are many excellent reasons to start, but in relation to this topic, conferencing allows you to give better feedback in class, not home at your kitchen table.
Grading Conferences: Maximize Learning AND Reduce Your Grading Load: Once you get the hang of conferencing, you can grade full assignments with the student – and save lots of time.
How to Make Time to Conference: You want to try conferencing but just can’t imagine how you’ll find the time? This post may help.