On Tuesday I had the pleasure of speaking at a conference in Coventry, I was followed by Roger Black MBE who delivered a keynote speech about his career.
I sat and wondered what the relationship between his career and teaching would be. Roger spoke at length about overcoming adversity and teamwork, the type of thing that teachers do on a daily basis. One thing, however, struck a chord with me. Roger discussed his 'fear of failure' how this fear pushed him from excellent to outstanding.
I wondered... Do we instil this fear in children? Should we? Would our children in school perform better if they had a fear of failure? I thought about my own classroom setting, are my children striving to achieve at all times? No. Do they have a fear of failure? The majority don't.
I then began to think about how I deal with failure on a daily basis. In my Year 5 class what happens if a child delivers a substandard piece of work? The answer: not a lot! If they have been lazy, they may have to do the work again, but only if the work is substantially below standard. If they have failed to achieve due to carelessness, I will probably warn them about their effort or concentration levels. Is it my fault that these children do not have an intrinsic fear of failing? Do they just think they can get away with it or is there another underlying problem?
I have met a number of children throughout my career who don't seem to care about their work, who don't care about achieving. These children lack ambition, it could be down to social pressures, family traditions or a lack of aspiration.
We need to engage these children in a way that makes them care. We need to make sure they care about achieving and instil in them a fear of failure.
The question is how? [I will blog about this at a later date.] I am forming some ideas....