“The most powerful motivation speeches that I have ever heard came from people who told me I couldn’t do something…” Forget fear. Forget failure. This powerful motivational video from Absolute Motivation combines On the Shortness of Life quotes by Seneca, James Alan’s As A Man Thinketh, narration by Les Brown and Tony Robbins and music by Luke Howard and Overwerk, to capture the essence of growth mindset. A must-see for educators recharging and rejuvenating this summer!
Reposted from Looking Up:
A social media interaction with a school board trustee clarified for me why we need teachers who fail. I suggested that we should be encouraging a more innovative culture in our schools. The trustee snarled “Parents don’t send their children to school to be experimented on” at me. “We need to use proven methods, not just make it up”.
His attitude symbolizes a significant contradiction in schools today. We want schools to be world leaders, and use the latest most effective methods. Simultaneously, we don’t want educators to take chances, to try something new and unproven. However risk and failure are essential for learning.
If we want our educators and classrooms to be cutting edge, we must welcome failure in our teaching and learning. Our students deserve the latest, newest ideas to maximize their learning, and we can’t use those methods unless we’re willing to risk failing. In our fast changing world things move very fast. The proven, safe ideas, are already out of date.
Reposted from the New York Times:
Five years ago, Cassandra Phillipps founded FailCon, a one-day conference in San Francisco celebrating failure. Discouraged by a growing chorus of start-up founders promoting their triumphs throughout Silicon Valley, and nervous about her own prospects as an entrepreneur, she craved the stories of people who had flopped. The conference was a success. And every October for the next four years, up to 500 tech start-up newbies have gathered with industry veterans who dish on their “biggest fail” and lead round-table discussions with titles like “How to Conduct Yourself When It All Goes Off the Rails.” But this year, the FailCon event in San Francisco was canceled, and Ms. Phillipps says part of the reason is that failure chatter is now so pervasive in Silicon Valley that a conference almost seems superfluous. “It’s in the lexicon that you’re going to fail,” she says.
In her five years running FailCon as a side project while holding down other full-time jobs, Ms. Phillipps gathered a fair amount of entrepreneurial wisdom. In her current job as a game designer for the mobile gaming company Pocket Gems, she says she always assumes that new products her group creates will hit the skids in several ways. They will discover a problematic employee in the mix, for example, or the products will garner some negative user reviews. “There has never been a product launched that didn’t have those failures,” she says. Ms. Phillipps and her team pre-emptively draft plans for how to handle these and other problems. They brainstorm specific solutions and set up warning systems to clue them in to the fact that a fiasco has occurred in the first place.
In some ways, FailCon’s success created a quandary for Ms. Phillipps. The last three conferences sold out, each drawing 400 to 500 people who paid $100 to $350 each. And FailCon attracted big-name sponsors, including Amazon Web Services, Comcast and Microsoft. She says the conference was financially profitable. Now, she says that Silicon Valley’s embrace of failure has outgrown the FailCon format — and that a one-day conference no longer seems to be the best fit. So she is aiming to reboot FailCon. She may turn to smaller, more interactive workshops and an invitation-only application process. FailCon 2.0 is to make its debut in October 2015.
Reposted from Politico:
I’ve covered Bill Gates, and his desire to improve the quality of education in America seemed sincere. But his outsized influence on school policy has, to say the least, not always been helpful. Although he and his foundation were committed to the idea of putting a great teacher into every classroom, Gates acknowledged that there was not much of a road map for doing that. “Unfortunately,” he said, “it seems that the field doesn’t have a clear view on the characteristics of great teaching. Is it using one curriculum over another? Is it extra time after school? We don’t really know.”
This hit-or-miss attitude—let’s try this, let’s try that—has been a hallmark of school reform efforts in recent years. The experiments trotted out by the big-money crowd have been all over the map. But if there is one broad approach (in addition to the importance of testing) that the corporate-style reformers and privatization advocates have united around, it’s the efficacy of charter schools. Charter schools were supposed to prove beyond a doubt that poverty didn’t matter, that all you had to do was free up schools from the rigidities of the traditional public system and the kids would flourish, no matter how poor they were or how chaotic their home environments.
Corporate leaders, hedge fund managers and foundations with fabulous sums of money at their disposal lined up in support of charter schools, and politicians were quick to follow. They argued that charters would not only boost test scores and close achievement gaps but also make headway on the vexing problem of racial isolation in schools. None of it was true. Charters never came close to living up to the hype. After several years of experimentation and the expenditure of billions of dollars, charter schools and their teachers proved, on the whole, to be no more effective than traditional schools. In many cases, the charters produced worse outcomes. And the levels of racial segregation and isolation in charter schools were often scandalous. While originally conceived a way for teachers to seek new ways to reach the kids who were having the most difficult time, the charter school system instead ended up leaving behind the most disadvantaged youngsters.
Life is richer when failure matters.
Folklore says Hernán Cortés burned his ships when he arrived in Mexico. There was no turning back. Alexander the Great burned his ships when he arrived in Persia. It was kill or be killed.
The fear of failure makes success necessary. It doesn’t sound noble, but the fear of failure drives people toward goals that seem unreachable. Leaders who create escape hatches use them.
Reposted from Forbes:
“Our educational system and most work environments have taught us that good performance means avoiding failure, not making mistakes. This is a big problem, because failure is an unavoidable part of innovation experimentation. Innovation requires the willingness to fail and learn. Abraham Maslow, one of the founders of the humanistic psychology movement, aptly stated that an individual would engage in learning only “to the extent he is not crippled by fear and to the extent he feels safe enough to dare.”
This means that in order to innovate we need to change our attitude toward failures and mistakes. Contrary to what many of us have been taught, avoiding failure is not a sign that we’re smart. Being smart is not about knowing all the answers and performing flawlessly. Being smart is knowing what you don’t know, prioritizing what you need to know, and being very good at finding the best evidence-based answers. Being smart requires you to become comfortable saying, “I don’t know.” It means that you do not identify yourself by your ideas but by whether you are an open-minded, good critical and innovative thinker and learner.
Creating a “big new” or a “big different” for your business requires innovative thinking, and innovative thinking requires the right kind of organizational environment. That is why innovation is so hard.”