Lindsey is a bright elementary student. Her siblings are intelligent as well. Her parents both finished PhD’s and are working in the academe and are into research. Lindsey got two mistakes in her Math exam. She received a severe beating from her parent. Every time she gets few points shy on being perfect in class, a terrible punishment (mostly physical and verbal) will be waiting for her. Her intelligence led her to study in the country’s premier university. Her damaged emotional quotient led her psyche to shut down and stopped schooling in the middle of a semester.
Glenn is a young boy who shows early signs of autism. There are times when he is stuck in his own world. His younger sister is better in writing and in maths than him. He still goes to school though but does not receive any academic honors, just enough to pass. His mother used to bring him to the fields, riverside, beach and the park to show him the animals big and small. She knew her son will not make it to the top 10 in school. But she is alright with that and makes sure that Glenn will still get to enjoy life. More than a decade later, Glenn finished college with a degree on Marine Biology and is now protecting animals from being exploited and harmed.
When a student fails, most of the blame goes to the teachers. It could be true that teachers have fallen short in doing their duties excellently and effectively, but there are other matters which greatly affect a student’s performance and learning.
Failure, in any form may it be in class or at work or in life in general, could either be a friend or a foe. Dealing with Failure can build up a person or tear a person down. Response to Failure can improve the self and others or destroy somebody’s future and self-worth.
One thing I realized after studying this whole course in Assessment is that there is always a possibility of failure, it is inevitable. No matter how great the goals are, how appropriate the instructional methods are taught, no matter what form of assessment and proper feedback is given, the teacher may fail and the student may fail along the way.
Is failure necessary? Yes. The IQ of a student is not what is most important in education; the EQ or emotional quotient is as important. The educational institutions may be developing brilliant minds but fragile hearts and spirits. Being always in the top, excellent and perfect is more dangerous than hitting the ground. Why? It is because the students will always get used to excellence that they do not know how to improve and learn more. The attitude of laxity will be developed, over confidence in one’s self will not come handy during trying times. Whereas students who experienced failure will be faced with more options, developing their decision-making skills, their self-esteem, confidence and even courage and resilience.
How will a student deal with failure? It is not just a teacher’s job. It is also the parent’s. Responses to a student’s failure or shortcomings should be leaning towards building up of the student rather than bringing them down. Constant encouragement, guidance and excitement for challenges will help the student do more and not give up. Giving capital punishment such as in the case of Lindsey may result in perfection, but fractured spirit which will break any time.
I do hope that the world, especially in the academe and at home, will see failure through a new lens. Failure does not show that an individual is already hopeless, instead, it should be a means to stand up and search for the right answer, the correct formula, the better self.
With so many forms and tools in assessment, the greatest test would be this one: Failure. Once a student faces this test, the teacher should be ready and careful to guide him/her to get up and move forward after hitting the ground.