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.
Did you know Wes has published 3 eBooks, and 1 of them is available free? Check them out!
If you're trying to listen to a podcast episode and it's not working, check this status page. (Wes is migrating his podcasts to Amazon S3 for hosting.) Remember to follow Wesley Fryer on Twitter (@wfryer), Facebook and Google+. Also "like" Wesley's Facebook pages for "Speed of Creativity Learning" and his eBook, "Playing with Media." Don't miss Wesley's latest technology integration project, "Mapping Media to the Common Core / Curriculum."
On this day..
- 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
- Dell laptops viable for 1:1 projects? - 2006