If Failing is so Important Why Don’t Schools Change?

It’s no secret, traditional schools are being seriously challenged. What is learned is often not what is needed to really succeed in society. We take years of school to be “well rounded”, and come out arguably knowing more about the periodic table in chemistry, than how to balance a check book.

Universities have a similar flaw except with an added huge price tag. Student loans are the only loans that can’t be removed via bankrupcy (at least in the US), and they seem to continue to grant student loans even if the student is failing school on probation. Does anyone else see a problem here?

We won’t go down that slippery slope today however, we’re only here to talk about how to incorporate failure into a curriculum. And by the way, we don’t believe it means grade on a curve to push students to work harder.

A failfection curriculum would be one that uses failure as a part of learning all while understanding that failure without emotional investment, is almost meaningless. That means the number one goal of schools should be to get students to be emotionally invested (within reason of course). If they aren’t emotionally invested, there is a major possibility they don’t come out learning much of anything. What if we could gauge that emotional investment, maybe by simply asking the students after being given challenging tasks: Are you frustrated? Or are you indifferent? Going through a series of tasks ensuring that different types of learning styles are attempted. There may be some students that stay indifferent, but the theory is if we identify the ways they are / are not frustrated in learning early on; we can ensure that their educational path takes it into consideration to help understand their motivations and best way of learning.

The next goal schools should have is a focus on practicality, is the information taught, truly going to be applicable to the students when they graduate? This includes at some basic level character traits and respect, despite the outcries of lobby groups and those who are particular about raising children. Ideally none of this would be ‘mandated’ by a governing body, only incentivized. The idea is that practicality is linked directly to real life applications to ensure success of the student, and ultimately the success of the society. That sounds great of course, but how would we do that? We go based on generalized job functions and needs to get through life. From opening a bank account, finding a job, what skills typical jobs require and ensure that every single subject can relate to these to greater or lesser degrees.

And finally once they are emotionally invested, and learning practical information that will help them when they leave school, then they can choose whatever specialty is desired letting them experiment with different subjects, look into different theories that may or may not serve a specific practical purpose. The typical college/university like paths with general education requirements minimized.

What do you think? Any other things we can learn from the currently ‘failing’ school systems?



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