The end of a year is often used as a time for reflection, reassessment, and redefining goals. This week at the Carrot Ranch Charli Mills is talking just that: reflecting on the year that was, assessing her achievements and failures and redefining her goals for the next part of her journey. Charli admits that she didn’t achieve all she had hoped but acknowledges that those shortcomings were more opportunities for learning than failure as such. While she learned more about herself and her abilities she was able to recalculate her goals and redefine her vision.
In education, failure is recognised as integral to learning.
- have a go
- try something new
- seek alternate solutions and ways of finding solutions
- persist and not give up
- recognise that success does not always come with a first attempt;
these are effective characteristics of learners, innovators and creative people.
Thomas Edison, after many unsuccessful attempts said,
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
There is no failure in a failed attempt; there is only failure in giving up.
Again, to quote from Edison,
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
C.S. Lewis is also quoted as saying,
“Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement.”
“One fails forward toward success.”
What helps that ability to rise again is a sense of where we are going, of what we are aiming for and what we want to achieve. This is often referred to as a vision, and it is a vision that Charli Mills has challenged writers to include in a flash fiction piece this week: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes a vision.
Having a vision of the future and working towards that future is essential to effective teaching.
As explained by Vicki Davis in her post Thank You Teacher for Your Presence on the Cool Cat Teacher blog, teachers are constantly preparing students for more independent and resourceful futures.
Through learning from a mentor teacher Jackie Catcher was able to refine her vision for effective teaching, which she shared on Three Teachers Talk :
“I learned that to lead students into our subject, we must make them feel valued within our community. We must work to acknowledge their strengths and show them that we are all equals when it comes to developing as readers and writers. We must praise their hard work and determination far more than their failures, and we must make ourselves available both in and outside of class to have meaningful conversations and connections. In the end, we are never too old to change our outlook and education. After all, one teacher can make the difference.”
I constantly share my own, and others’, views about and vision for education on this blog.
Some of those posts are:
Visioning a better school, a better way of educating
Child’s play – the science of asking questions
I have also referred to an alternative to traditional schooling that I “failed” to establish in the 1990s. The vision for that alternative was:
“A dynamic centre of learning opportunities
for children, families and communities
which focuses upon the development
of self-esteem and positive attitudes
in a nurturing environment
in which individuals are appreciated
for their uniqueness and diversity
while fostering the commonality of their human essence.”
Which brings me to my flash fiction piece for this week. In it I attempt to draw together many threads from views expressed over the year and finish with an optimism for the future.
The power of “No”
It was grey.
For as long as anyone could remember.
They moved about, comfortable in the familiar, avoiding the unknown.
Shadowy shapes beyond incited fear: a threat to all they knew?
Lives lacked definition, blending to sameness, conforming to rules.
“But why?” The tiny voice shattered the stillness.
All eyes turned. Bodies stiffened.
Whose was this unruly child?
“Shhh!” the hapless parents failed to hide their offensive produce.
Again! No one moved.
“Because!” was the parents’ definitive reply.
They breathed. “Because!” they confirmed in unison.
Defiantly the child pressed the dust-covered switch and flooded the world with light.
Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts about any aspect of this post or flash fiction.
I wish you success as your vision takes shape in 2015.