Failure = Learning

My son went to a basketball camp recently and at the end they had a contest.  At the conclusion of the contest all of the participants were pronounced the winner.  I was amazed that everyone thought that this was just great.  Everyone received a ribbon and the camp was over.  After the ride home I asked my son to see his ribbon and he replied, “What ribbon?” “The one you got 30 minutes ago at camp” I replied.  “I am not sure I think it is in the car” he replied and walked away.  This response really made me think.  All the parents felt great at the end of camp but the kids were robbed of any real feeling of accomplishment.

As I thought about this event I began to think about the conversations in my PLN.  Over the past week we have been discussing grading and the value of letter grades. When students receive a grade on an assignment what does that really mean to them?  Is the real value and learning moment being lost with this traditional assessment.  Life is learned through failure.  More specifically through the reflection and correction of mistakes.  So why does education for the most part avoid this type of assessment.  This traditional assessment robs students of any real intrinsic value to that assigned task.  Causing students to become disconnected with the learning process.  Having student assess and reflect on their individual tasks is key to developing a true learning environment.  Then this morning I see Diana Laufenberg’s   TED talk on “How to Learn? From Mistakes”.   In this talk she discusses the value and importance of helping students assess their own work and learn from their own and others mistakes. Take a look.

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