As students, we become very familiar with the idea of failing and succeeding. Succeeding is an A and failing is an F. The common misconception is that failing means a student is doing something wrong and that failures have no benefit for them. However, the idea of failures being a terrible thing is not all that accurate. Many benefits come from failures including the opportunity to grow from mistakes and the ability to take more risks in life because of a new mindset.
Most people have experienced the big F on a test. As students, the first reaction is that we have failed. Yes, they might not have gotten the best grade, but what students learn from failures is more important and long-lasting than learning from successes. When a student gets a bad grade on a test, their initial reaction is to feel like they are not good enough and give up. With this mindset, students will not have a great opportunity for improvement. Instead, students should look at what they missed and improve on that.
A study was done where groups of people were asked a question, for example, “What is the world’s tallest grass?” After answering, they had to wait 24 hours to see the correct answer and it showed that the incorrect people were more inclined to remember more in the later memory test. This coincides with the idea that when students miss a question on their test or quiz, they study it more and start to think harder about it until it becomes part of their daily activities. This goes along with failures. If a student fails, they can look at what went wrong and grow as a student or they can be submissive and let their failure control them.
“I think at every point, hopefully early in someone’s academic career, they experience failure because things that come easy aren’t always going to be constant,” science teacher Dr. Arakelian said. “Everyone will eventually encounter something that they can’t do, and failure allows learning in different ways and to build grit.”
When a student fails, they have the opportunity to try again and again. After students reflect on what went wrong, they have many opportunities to improve. Students are able to address the problem and work harder to succeed. This leads to the idea that when students fail, they are more likely to take risks in the future because, in the past, they have dealt with failures and are not scared to do it again.
“If I had done okay [on the test], I would’ve just left it and not really understood it completely,” senior Copeland Frazee said. “But since I did really bad, I started going to a tutor and now I understand math as a whole, not just Calculus, so much better and I’ve been going to Mathnasium because of it. I really do feel like it’s helped me as a person because now I understand so much better.”
On the contrary, failures can hurt a student’s confidence. When students put in their best effort and do not get the best grade on the assignment, students feel defeated. With their mindset, they have lost most of their confidence and will tear themselves down. Since confidence is a major part of succeeding as a student, if these students lose their confidence, school might become even more difficult.
To keep students from feeling down, students’ mindsets need to be focused on the idea that there is always room for improvement. Improving plays a major role in not only being a student but also a human. When students fail, they should realize that there is always going to be something they can improve on. This leads to the idea that no one is perfect. With this mindset, students will have an easier time accepting their failures and acting on them because they know it is inevitable.
With failing, comes numerous benefits that can improve students in and out of the classroom. This gives the students an opportunity to reflect on their failures, improve as a student, and be more likely to take risks in life. Even though failures can hurt, the growth potential that comes from it is well worth it. The amount of opportunities that failures lead to is nowhere near what successes could ever bring.