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I found this great photo today on Twitter that I could not wait to share. The author of the photo frames a question that could be asked by anyone. “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” I think this question gets to the heart of why so many adults and children never take risks — fear of failure. Why? Why are we so afraid of failure? Failing at something is the best way to learn how to do something: riding a bike, tying a shoe, writing your name, reading a book. None of us were born with these skills and yet most of us learn how to do many if not all of these things well. I do not understand why failure is such a hard thing for us to sometimes master; however, I believe helping students overcome their fear of failure should be a major goal for all teachers.
Let’s make a pledge to help our students overcome their fear of failure. Don’t just ask a student “what would you do if you knew you could not fail?” Ask a student how will you fail today? Challenge students to actively take risk even when they know there is potential for failure (while also providing a safe space for them to learn as they fail). tlb