This small clip speaks so much to what I have learned this semester, and not just that, but the interesting fact that this study was actually shared IN CLASS during an observation. The students were in the process of learning about the brain and how it work during their science period. They learned about things such as neuroplasticity, neurons, synapases, axioms, dendrites, myelin sheaths, etc. While they went through the physical study in their sience period, in the team's other room (humanities), they were learning about psychology, and in that subject, particularly behavioral science. They talked and learned about classical conditioning, operant conditioning, growth mindset, and one of the most important things one can learn about... FAILURE!
Now the important thing to understand is the way in which this topic was approached in both classes. While some schools may prefer not to talk about it, or at least not much about it, failure is a very real part of life and must be addressed. But in my class, it wasn't just addressed: it was delved into head-on from the very first day. On the first day of class, my co-teacher told the students that what he expected from them this year was, first and foremost, to TAKE RISKS! Not only that, but he expected them to FAIL! As many would guess, the students didn't like that idea, and you could see it on their faces. They all had the same, or at least similar, thoughts: "Why would my teacher be expecting me to fail?" I was a little wary at first as well. Shouldn't a teacher be expecting his students to succeed? But then, he continued...
He said that what he meant is that failure isn't a "bad word." And many times in school, we see it in that light. Rather, "Failure is just another word for growing." Over in the science class, the other team teacher said something similar - "Your brain grows more and you learn more from failure than you do from success." This is not to say that success is a bad thing, but rather that taking risks and failing in school will help students learn a great amount more than anything a TEACHER can TEACH them. She shared with them this same study and the students were now more ready than before to take risks and even fail.
I eventually also added to this by telling the students my favorite story about Thomas Edison. When questioned about his 2,000 failures in creating a light bulb. Edison responded that he didn't fail 2,000 times to make a light bulb, he just found 2,000 ways how NOT to make a light bulb, but he only needed to find 1 way to make it work!
[Youcubed at Stanford]. (2016, April 25). TED Talk clip. [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_skSkvuDXc&index=26&list=PLbRLdW37G3oMquOaC-HeUIt6CWk-FzaGp
Richard Sable is from Vista, CA and graduated from Azusa Pacific University in 2014 with a B.A. in Social Science and is currently working on his single subject teaching credential in the field of Social Science at CSU, San Marcos.