Where have all the flunkers gone?
“Why can’t we just accept ourselves as chaotic, messy and varied?” asks Angela Saini, author of Superior.
Once upon a time it was okay to flunk, flap and fail.
It was okay not to be brilliant and perfect at everything.
It was okay to make a mess of things and slip on banana skins and walk away with egg on your face.
It was okay not to reach the ‘required standard’ because we all move and develop at different speeds.
It still is in some places but not every classroom celebrates it.
You might think it odd to celebrate failure but it isn’t. I don’t mean have a party but see flunking as learning. When we try and fail it really isn’t much fun but when you keep trying and you do eventually get to where you want to be then bingo!
Failures are reminders that we need to keep going, work harder, become stronger, and stretch our capacities.
Not all failures are created equal. There are preventable failures of course and those we can see coming so we should do something about them. But in a classroom it is the intellectual failures and complex failures we need to focus on as being ‘good’ events, not bad. Failing is everything.
Let’s get the word flunk back in circulation and help children to realise that to flunk is to grow. Let’s help children to realise that if they don’t get something right the first time or the fifth time then it is a case of intelligent failure, a ‘system’ error or something subject to ‘technical issues’. Make light of it.
You simply don’t become a Shen Yun dancer without falling over at least 100 times. The journey is long and that means plenty of failing along the way.
It’s good for our wellbeing to know that everyone is failing pretty much all of the time.