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, subscribe to Wes' free newsletter. Check out Wes' video tutorial library, "Playing with Media." Information about more ways to learn with Dr. Wesley Fryer are available on wesfryer.com/after.
On this day..
- 15 Things I Love About My Classroom (and teaching situation!) - 2022
- 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
- links for 2008-04-19 - 2008
- Be careful, be critical - 2007