Skip to main content
Search IntMath

Friday math movie: Smart failure for a fast-changing world

By Murray Bourne, 04 Oct 2013

There is a worrying trend in education, where we protect students from their mistakes. We make tests easier, we praise the students even though they did not do well and we choose to gloss over their errors.

All of us learn a lot more from getting in, making our hands dirty, and making mistakes.

Mistakes should be celebrated for their power to teach. Of course, we need to create an environment where it is OK to fail and where there is support for students when they do. We also need well-crafted reflection, where students are encouraged to get back on their bikes and have another go. And I'm certainly not advocating the approach where we belittle students and call them "stupid" every time they don't get it.

In this enthusiastic (albeit exhausting at times) TED talk, business educator Eddie Obeng calls for a stronger culture of "smart failure".

Be the first to comment below.

Leave a comment

Comment Preview

HTML: You can use simple tags like <b>, <a href="...">, etc.

To enter math, you can can either:

  1. Use simple calculator-like input in the following format (surround your math in backticks, or qq on tablet or phone):
    `a^2 = sqrt(b^2 + c^2)`
    (See more on ASCIIMath syntax); or
  2. Use simple LaTeX in the following format. Surround your math with \( and \).
    \( \int g dx = \sqrt{\frac{a}{b}} \)
    (This is standard simple LaTeX.)

NOTE: You can mix both types of math entry in your comment.


Tips, tricks, lessons, and tutoring to help reduce test anxiety and move to the top of the class.