Part of my focus on digital citizenship this year is a strong desire to create a positive classroom community that supports risky learning. I want my students to be able to try, fail and give it another iteration. This requires a classroom community that understands when people fail, we brainstorm with them and give them positive suggestions for improvement. I want my classroom to be a place where failure is an expected and acceptable step on the pathway to problem solving.
According to an informative article on the topic of failure in Edutopia by Bob Lenz, John Dewey claimed, “Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes.” So the challenge becomes, how do we help our students support each other for maximum learning from failure?
One suggestion from ISTE is to teach students how to give feedback to each other by using the comment feature of Google Docs. Teaching students to give and receive feedback in real time on their work is one thing that I plan to teach early in the school year. As students both give and receive feedback, my goal is that they will learn to help each other improve and be positive and helpful to each other both online and in person.
Teachthought, has a quick list of ideas to promote positive failure, but these ideas mostly concern course design. They interest me, but none of the resources really address how to form a community of support for learning. I think when school starts, I will just have to risk failure myself and cobble together some of these suggestions into my on program and see how many iterations it takes me to reach a satisfactory conclusion.