- Writing for Edutopia, 2015 Colorado Teacher of the Year Leticia Guzman Ingram shares the experiences of five 2016 state teachers of the year who found success in pushing students to take risks and rise to the occasion.
- Indiana elementary school teacher Jean Russell had her class document perseverance by placing a marble in a jar for each instance, while Christine Porter Marsh of Arizona shared her own mistakes with her students, and Ernie Lee of Georgia enabled students to retake assignments and tests.
- Meanwhile, Natalie DiFusco-Funk of Virginia tells students that just because they can't do something yet doesn't mean they never will, and Diane McKee of Florida uses "Failure Fridays," in which students view footage of famous people talking about the failures that preceded their success.
The idea of instilling "grit" — the will to persevere and overcome challenges — has risen in popularity in recent years, especially as a component of social-emotional learning. Though some have questioned whether it's a trait that can be taught, it does seem to be a matter of perspective in some cases.
Take, for example, a student playing a video game. When they fail in the game, they have an opportunity to try again and can learn how to overcome the previous obstacle. On an assignment or exam in school, however, there's much more pressure to succeed the first time because students don't necessarily get a second chance. This, however, runs contrary to many modern workplaces — particularly at popular "startup" companies, where experimentation is encouraged regardless of the outcome. Without the freedom to fail, learning can be much more difficult.
It's a concept that has also accompanied the rising push for more teacher autonomy, as stringent accountability regulations over the past decade or more have discouraged experimentation with innovative models because failure could result in negative outcomes for both educators and entire schools. If the cost of failure is too high, students and educators both lose due to a lack of freedom to push the envelope and find newer, better learning models.