A high school teacher told me recently that her school allows students to try harder courses than they normally might take. For example, students might sign up for an Honors English class instead of a regular English class or an AP GovernmentÂ classÂ instead of a normal Government class. These are big issues in secondary schools: who gets to take advanced / Honors / AP courses, who gets to be exposed to rigorous course content, and who doesnâ€™t. At first I thought that this was great, that hereâ€™s a school thatâ€™s trying to open up learning opportunities for students. But then my back brain registered how she talked about the school policy. She said that the school gives students â€œpermission to fail.â€ And thatâ€™s when it all fell apart for me.
Permission to fail. What a horribly sad and depressing term. Does a permission to fail policy recognize that these kids might need a little extra support to be successful or does it simply thrust them into the challenging learning environment and say, â€œGood luck!â€? Is a permission to fail policy premised on student success or on a belief that â€œthese kids really canâ€™t do the work but weâ€™ll let them try because it looks and feels goodâ€ (to us, to parents, to the public)? Perceptions and beliefs shape reality. Will a permission to fail policy ever result in large numbers of successful students?
I left that school wishing it had a permission to succeed policy.
If you enjoyed this post and found it useful, consider subscribing to Wes' free, weekly newsletter. Generally Wes shares a new edition on Monday mornings, and it includes a TIP, a TOOL, a TEXT (article to read) and a TUTORIAL video. You can also check out past editions of Wes' newsletter online free!
Did you know Wes has published several eBooks and "eBook singles?" 1 of them is available free! Check them out! Also visit Wes' subscription-based tutorial VIDEO library supporting technology integrating teachers worldwide!MORE WAYS TO LEARN WITH WES: Do you use a smartphone or tablet? Subscribe to Wes' free magazine "iReading" on Flipboard! Follow Dr. Wesley Fryer on Twitter (@wfryer), Facebook and Google+. Also "like" Wes' Facebook page for "Speed of Creativity Learning". Don't miss Wesley's latest technology integration project, "Show With Media: What Do You Want to CREATE Today?"
On this day..
- Tips for Parents Paying for College - 2016
- Blogs I Follow (From a Feedly OPML Export) - 2014
- Transitioning from Print to a Digital Learning Ecosystem by Richard Culatta - 2012
- Opening Remarks by Janet Barresi: Oklahoma Digital Learning Summit - 2012
- Remembering April 19, 1995 - 2010
- Meeting with a future education leader: What would you say in 60 minutes? - 2010
- A Slidecast on Designing School 2.0 - 2009
- Podcast312: Reinventing Education for the 21st Century (Designing School 2.0) - 2009
- links for 2008-04-19 - 2008
- Be careful, be critical - 2007