Thoughts on the Use of Failure as a Teaching Technique
|by Bill Page
Continued from Thoughts on the Use of Failure as a Teaching Technique page 1
January 1, 2009
Failing students desperately seek to regain human needs diminished by failure. Needs include; belonging, acceptance, competence, independence, dignity, and worth.
Failing students’ lack of responsibility should be understood from the perspective of poor parenting and painful relationships that have precluded them from learning responsibility.
The desired, prerequisite, and important student behaviors must be learned. Bad grades do not teach students responsibility, values, knowledge, or appropriate behavior.
The anguish, anger, and, frustration caused by student noncompliance usually results in punitive action by teachers, which starts a cycle of reciprocal pain-for-pain cycle.
Teachers need to recognize and respond to the underlying causes of student failure rather than react to the actions and manifestations of the failure.
Acting on the pain of failure by their denial and retaliation is more desirable for students than displaying their vulnerability or admitting their weaknesses.
Behavior that seems illogical and senseless to successful, educated teachers makes good sense and perfect logic in the minds tormented students who are in a defensive mode.
Students who suffered hurt in the past are hypersensitive to threats to their self-worth and often act aggressively and defiantly toward otherwise innocent or unintentional actions.
Once the misbehavior-punishment cycle of reciprocal retaliation is begun, it cannot be stopped until the teacher or student admits defeat or withdraws from the relationship.
Punishment is the treatment of choice for noncompliance. But punishment has not worked and is counterproductive on defiant students. If it worked they’d be compliant.
Punitive actions by teachers are notorious for satisfying teacher needs and frustration more than they are for changing the behavior of the troubled and failing students.
All children need a sense of belonging despite their problems; those who need to feel that sense the most may never really feel it from any caring adults at home or school.
Schooling is the one experience every child has. Schools have the obligation to provide for the emotional needs for effective learning that poor parenting neglects.
Students have three ways of coping with negative, unsuccessful, punitive, failing school experiences. They can deceive, defy or disengage; that is they can lie, battle, or escape.