Failure Is What You Make Of It

Source: EdSurge, Apr 2013

… embrace epic failure. … once you learn that failure is a friend, you become much more willing to push boundaries – which is what “making” is about.

… a lot of kids simply cannot handle failure. Rather than look at what happened and why, they seem to be crushed emotionally and disengage. The failure becomes more important than everything you did correctly along the way.

Given the standards based testing environment that public schools live under, the students see a huge emphasis on getting the right answer the first time and NOT failing. From a developmental standpoint, this inability to deal with failure can lead more risk-averseness and less confidence to seize opportunities that arise.

In our MakerSpace, embracing failure gives The Herd (our young makers) several skills useful in engineering and beyond:

  • The ability to accept failure and “get over it”
  • The basic fundamentals of failure analysis
  • Active troubleshooting
  • Really understanding a design beyond how it looks
  • Persistence to work through a problem and get to a solution

Kids who develop the confidence to explore and an understanding that failure is not the end of the world are likely to go further, gain more, fail frequently (and spectacularly), and perhaps live more epic lives.


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