When Did “Fail” Become a Four-Letter Word?

This is my opinion and a little stray from my normal technology blogs!  You may disagree, but I think most teachers will agree!  I wish more parents of students would read this and think about it!  Here we go…

I think most of my teacher friends and parents out there have seen our education system change a bunch since we were a student in the classroom.  We didn’t have all this technology at our figure tips and the world wasn’t so ever-changing or fast!

When I ask my students to “try” something new, they say “But, I have never done this before!  What if I get it wrong?” or they are “Scared” to even try it because they may fail or do it wrong.  This is what our education system has created lately – a student who must have multiple choices (A, B, C, or D)!  If an open-ended question or scenario is given with little details, they are stumped or tell themselves “This is too hard!”  Many won’t even try – unless they are bribed or rewarded with something.  Whatever happened to getting the right answer(s) or working hard or learning from your failures?  We have really thwarted creativity and critical thinking skills…and we wonder why our country is falling behind other countries in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) areas.  In my opinion, this is one of the main reasons why other cultures and countries have passed us by.

Also, I feel that some students learn at an early age that “Failing” is bad.  I am not really talking about their report card, but more about learning from your failures.  We need to change this is our classrooms and teach our students or children that:


Failing is the First Attempt In Learning! 

I try to tell my students about Thomas Edison – the inventor of the light bulb.  I ask them what he did and a few students say he was an inventor of the light bulb, and I ask them if he got it right the first time?  The majority of my students know he didn’t, and then I ask how many times he did his experiment (great Scientific Method introduction)?  I will get the answers 10, 100, 500, etc.  Do you know the answer?

He failed about 111,000+ times before he got it right!!!  How many of us would keep trying like that and learn the power of perseverance?  I know I wouldn’t have went that far, but I know that I can use the power of technology, experts, friends, etc. to help me learn anything.  We need to teach our students and kids how to fail and steer them in the right direction – knowing how and where to find the answer is the key!  I think that was my “real life” lesson I took from college, along with starting something and finishing it.

I really hope parents and teachers let their kids know that we learn from our failures.  We can’t tell our kids, “No that’s wrong!” or “Let me do that for you.”  If we continue enabling them, they will never be able to think for themselves and expect to have everything laid out for them – life isn’t always an A, B, C, or D test, sometimes “Life Happens” and we need to adapt and learn on our own.

Let me step of my soapbox…

I have wanted to type this for a while, but I just hadn’t felt the need to until my wife showed me the image above about what “Fail” really means!  Thanks wife!


One thought on “When Did “Fail” Become a Four-Letter Word?

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