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Let them fail, let them fail, don't hold them back anymore

First, read this (from this):
Now, there is a school of thought that some groups may be too 'high stakes' to be allowed to fail.  Of course, I agree if we are talking about failing the high stakes, terminal examinations.  However, all groups need to be able to fail throughout their academic career, if only to experience the feeling of utter dread.
Like many other schools, mine will hold a mock-exam results event after the break, but here are five ways in which I've introduced the idea of failure to my GCSE classes.
They don't love me for it, but they are effective.
Hit them with a really hard question at the start of the lesson that they do badly in.  This isn't to show progress to the grey-suit brigade, but a confidence builder when the class can crack it.
Differentiation? Make them hard, difficult and really hard. Sometimes students need to engage with the beautiful struggle of education.
Simulate failure in rigged games like the Trading Game.
There are differences of opinion on reporting data. They all miss the point usually, it's the quality of the conversation between teacher and young person that is key. With all of these ideas, careful mentoring, coxing and pushing are all needed.  Each half term, I speak to each individual student to talk to them about where they are, where they could go to and how to do it.
How do you encourage students to fail?


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