As a teacher, I feel like I often spend hours crafting what I hope is the most amazing and exciting lesson or activity. I think I’ve considered all angles, worked through giving the directions, thought about the vocabulary my students need, etc.; I’ve got this lesson in the bag. And then – EPIC FAIL!!
Reflecting on failure has a benefit for our students as well. Imagine a teacher that never tried new ideas and always played it safe. Not only might the class be a bit boring, but also she sends the message to her students that risk-taking and change are not important. A teacher who looks for new opportunities and ideas, however, demonstrates the importance of taking risks. We constantly encourage our students, especially World Language students, to take risks and put their language use out there. If we don’t model that behavior with our teaching, why should they believe us?
It isn’t, however, just the risk-taking that we model. When an assignment or activity doesn’t work quite right, it is important that we model the reflection process with our students as well. Including them in the reflection not only provides us as teachers with a different perspective, but also teaches students that mistakes are great, but reflecting and improving is even better!
Failure provides that real-life, teachable moment. So grab your epic fails by the horns and reflect and change to make the failure worthwhile.