I have read blogs in which educators make the case that it is perfectly fine for kids in school to fail. After all, the purpose of school is to prepare them for life and life includes failure. I propose a totally different perspective. I think that life sends all of us plenty of opportunities for failure. There is no need to create or stimulate failure experiences for students. The experience of failure in childhood and adolescence can have significant long term effects. Experiences of failure in youth frequently lead to feelings of lack of self worth, feelings that the student is incapable of learning and therefore should not bother to try, to decreased motivation and even to depression. School should be a place where failure is not allowed. Schools should prepare students for success.
Webster defines success as “The favorable or prosperous termination anything attempted”
Let’s take a step back and think about the world of education. We have millions of students of all ages, interests and abilities who interact on a daily basis with hundreds of thousands of teachers of all ages, backgrounds, interests and skill levels. Each state has made a decision that all of those students need to “learn” a certain number of things at a certain level of proficiency. For the sake of efficiency and economy, we assemble students together by age and teach them together in groups the material that has been proscribed and expect that they will all learn all of it within the same specified period of time. Is this a recipe for success?
For some students, yes. For many students, no. Each student arrives in the classroom with his or her unique interests, skills, aptitudes, style and speed of learning, strengths and weaknesses. Students will inevitably struggle with some subjects and some concepts within those subjects. We have only to listen in on a few adult conversations to know that this is true. In the adult world, we each have specific talents and skills and we are usually pretty aware of and comfortable with what they are. “Could someone else figure out the tip, I’m so bad at math.” “No, sorry, I am not getting up there in front of all of those people.” “Just give me a phone that makes phone calls; I don’t want to have to worry about all this other stuff.” “To tell you the truth, I don’t have a clue what a black hole is.”
Yet students are expected to do equally well in all subjects. Kids need our help, but how do we help them? We need to fill in the gaps that schools cannot address. The key to success is for students to have access to targeted, one to one assistance that takes into account the student’s individual needs and learning style, and the issues with which the student needs help and that provides that help in a supportive and encouraging environment. Students who believe that they can do the work, students who get help right when they encounter an obstacle, are able to develop or maintain their self confidence, feel more of a sense of control over their work, and are much more likely to stay motivated and meet the heightened level of expectations being set for them.
This is why Tutor.com so strongly supports and adheres to providing one to one learning for the students who use our service. We are there, offering individualized, one to one help because we believe that every student deserves a chance at success.