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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Not YET Successful

If you're reading along like I am, you'll recall that the last entry was about the "power of yet".  It's linked to failure, that word in our culture with an undeserving reputation.  Really, I don't know anyone who has ever achieved success without experiencing failure along the way.  We should be paying more attention to those who are successful and how they've learned to befriend failure instead of turning our backs to it.

It's important to fail.  And it's important to give children permission to fail.  Only by risking failure can anything really ever be achieved.  Failure can be an ally in other ways, too.  Failure gives us a unique opportunity to learn.  And it gives us options, if we're paying attention.  Failure, by the way, is no more permanent than is success.

You've heard it - the road to success is full of hurdles and potholes.  You may have also heard the Japanese proverb - "Fall down seven times, get up eight."  So, failure may simply mean "not yet successful".

Wait a second - isn't this a grading option?  Seniors at certain schools who are completing capstone projects sometimes receive this feedback.  It means - go back to work and do better because we think you can.  It sends the message that someone else expects you to do better.

"You're not done - yet."

We're almost done.  There are just a few final questions to ask.  What if the D and F were eliminated from grading options?  After all, a "D" represents unsatisfactory performance, anyway.  What if, instead, any student not performing satisfactorily was told that s/he is "not yet successful"?  Does the message in the grade deliver a different kind of lesson?

"You're not done - yet."

Any thoughts on this?

1 comment:

  1. When I was in high school, my school embarked on an ambitious plan named "Project Success." It's goal was to ensure that kids were actually mastering the subject, rather than simply sliding by into the next unit. The approach did away with teachers (in most cases except world languages) and replaced them with "facilitators." These facilitators watched over students who were working at there own pace "mastering" the content, taking tests and moving along as they learned the content. This bread a new culture of cheating as in the same room sat kids who had already mastered the subject, sharing answers with those who had not. Needless to say, it was a complete failure and the school district reverted to traditional methods the following year. That being said, I think there is some merit to the concept of mastering a subject before moving along. Giving a student a D and sending them on to the next level makes no sense to me, yet that is what is done in the majority of school systems. I believe that a student should show mastery of the subject content with a C or better before moving them along. http://www.caseylight.wordpress.com