“There is an increasing amount of chatter on the internet about the value of letting kids make mistakes, letting them fail, allowing them to be wrong…throw into the conversation a giant heap of how to get them to unleash their creativity…of course the two are interconnected. How do you get them to stop being afraid, so that they take a risk, not fear failure, and allow their creative juices to flow?
Make them do the impossible.
Seriously…the impossible. Something that has never been done before.”
Many times my students refuse to try or act up in class because they are afraid to fail.
It is really hard to get them to try because they feel everything is impossible.
While I understand that we need to encourage our students to try and do the impossible, I am afraid if I tell them it is impossible, they will fail. It is the self-fulfilling prophesy. If they think it is impossible, they will not see that it is possible to succeed. When faces with something hard, they immediately shut down if they think it is impossible.
Instead I want my students to do the possible. They may not know it is possible at the time but I want them to think that anything is possible.
Sometimes when they are trying for something possible, they may end up going in a different direction or getting to their destination a different way. When thinking that anything is possible, I feel it opens up more opportunities for success. It helps my students face an obstacle with an open mind.
Sometimes we brain storm about what is the worst thing that could happen. Many times they bring up that fact that they could fail. Then others mention that it wouldn’t be the first time they failed at something so actually that isn’t the worst thing that could happen. By bringing out these feelings in the open, the unknown doesn’t seem as scary. Sometimes the students end up encouraging and giving emotional support to the other person.
I want them to think that anything is possible if we can find the key to solving the problem. But we can’t find the key if we just give up. The more the students succeed, the more confidence they have facing the next obstacle they come across. As they accomplish more and more, they suddenly realize that anything is truly possible.
How do you encourage your students? Please share!