Failure is often viewed as a negative experience, something that we should avoid at all costs. Whether it is failing a class or failing to get that job, we have been conditioned that failing is a bad thing. However, failing can actually be a valuable learning experience that can help us grow and develop as individuals. This idea is a great addition to the classroom!

Failing can help us to identify our weaknesses and areas where we need to improve. When we succeed at something, it can be easy to become complacent and believe that we have nothing left to learn. However, when we fail, we are forced to confront our shortcomings and take steps to address them. This can be a humbling experience, but it can also be an opportunity for personal growth and development. While it can be difficult for us as teachers to let students fail, it helps them to move forward by investing time and energy in the areas that they need to improve.

It is through failure that we build resilience and perseverance. When we experience failure, it can be tempting to give up and move on to something else. However, if we are able to persevere through the difficult times and keep pushing forward, we can develop a greater sense of determination. This can be incredibly valuable in both our personal and professional lives, as it allows us to bounce back from setbacks and continue to move forward towards our goals. Again, this is a valuable lesson for students to not give up when things are difficult.

Surprisingly, failure can help us to become more creative and innovative. When we succeed at something, it can be tempting to stick with what works and avoid taking risks. However, when we fail, we are forced to think outside the box and come up with new and creative solutions to the problems we are facing. This can lead to innovative ideas and breakthroughs that we may not have discovered otherwise. Students benefit from this because thinking outside of the box is a valuable skill for learning and life.

Check out this video from TopThink about the Simple Power of FAILURE to learn about the many ways that failure can be used as a tool for improvement.

Check out the article “Failing Your Way To Success: Why Failure Is A Crucial Ingredient For Success” by Anna Powers. So, how can we learn from our mistakes and use failure as a tool for growth and development? Here are some tips to help you turn failures into valuable learning experiences:

  1. Take time to reflect: After experiencing failure, it’s important to take some time to reflect on what went wrong and why. This can help you to identify your weaknesses and areas where you need to improve. In the classroom, it is valuable for students to reflect on the outcomes or feedback received.
  2. Be open to feedback: Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from others, such as colleagues, mentors, or friends. This can help you to gain a new perspective on the situation and learn from the insights of others. For students, feedback is a necessary part of learning.
  3. Don’t take it personally: It’s easy to take failure personally and see it as a reflection of our own inadequacies. However, it’s important to remember that failure is a natural part of the learning process and that everyone experiences setbacks from time to time. This is a hard concept for students to understand, but if you make failure ok in your classroom students will be more likely to understand that it is all part of learning.
  4. Keep trying: Don’t let failure discourage you from continuing to pursue your goals. Instead, use it as motivation to keep trying and pushing forward. This is something that you can instill in your students from the beginning of the year.

    By embracing failure and using it as a tool for personal and professional growth, we can become more resilient, creative, and innovative. So, the next time you experience failure, don’t be afraid to use it as an opportunity for learning and growth.  How might you use failure as a lesson in the classroom? Please join in the conversation by tagging us @KaneCountyROE.


Raven Szalkowski – Professional Learning Coordinator
(t):  630-762-2056

Leave a Reply