Monday, April 20, 2015

What functional failure should do.

In my session  at the Iowa 1:1 institute I said the following,

"If failure is just an indication to start again, you have missed the boat."

What I was trying to explain was that there is a difference between failure and functional failure. Failure is an event not a label, but the response to failure is what makes failure just something that happens or something that guides your next action.

In order for failure to be functional it needs to do two thing (oh...here's the list):

Failure needs to eliminate behaviors.
Failure needs to initiate behaviors.

Failure needs to eliminate behaviors.

When we fail we immediately start looking for the "thing" that caused us to fail. What if we started to look for the behaviors that caused the fail. Instead of looking for what is to blame, we should look for behaviors to abandon.

Failure needs to initiate behaviors.

As I said, if we see failure as an indication to start again, we have missed the boat. But, what does that mean? I see this in my students. I teach music at a middle school in Iowa, so my classroom may look a little different than yours, but the behavior won't.

We will be practicing a piece of music and, undoubtedly, students will be able to play a section, but when they move to the next section, and are not able to play it correctly the first time, they go back and play the section they already know how to play. That's a lot of words, but have you seen this behavior? Can you explain it? I can't.

For failure to be functional, it needs to be used as a rubric for what to do next. Failure without changes boarders on insanity. Lots of ideas here. Not a lot of answers.

Your comments are welcomed and encouraged,


Dane Barner

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