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Education is About Learning from Failure

Joann

I was relaxing reading the New York Sunday Times a few weeks ago when an article, Learning to Fail by Jessica Bennett, caught my eye. The article discusses the struggle that college students have in seeing failure as part of the learning process. According to Bennett, support services have been set up across college campuses to help students learn to fail. Professors also take part in the dialogue, recalling their own failures.

As a career educator, I’m always trying to make connections between teaching and learning. How is it that we have students who see failure as a personal reflection of their character, rather than a natural struggle to learn new information? For over 35 years I have taught elementary students and worked to enhance teacher training.  I now teach students in undergraduate and graduate educator preparation, and I want to make sure they understand educating students isn’t always about test scores and proficient ratings. If we are to change attitudes it will begin with school administrators and teachers fostering the process rather than the product of learning.

Somehow we lose touch of what learning means. Even though we cheer on a baby as they stumble and fall repeatedly learning to walk, we can’t accept these “stumbles” in ourselves. In the world of sports, we understand that there will be strikes, fumbled balls, missed hits, and losses.  Why can’t we carry this thinking over into academic learning?

For my Ed Prep students, I offer the following advice as an educator of 35 years.

  • Praise your students’ efforts rather than just the grade.
  • Talk about failure and learning from mistakes as a part learning.
  • Foster intrinsic motivation which comes from wanting to do better to reach personal goals.
  • Highlight famous people who have failed many times, such as Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, Michael Jordan, Walt Disney, and J.K. Rowling just to name a few.
  • Share your own failures and mistakes so students see that you also have similar experiences and struggles.
  • Celebrate the resilience and perseverance you see in your students because that is what is truly important.

Future teachers will have much to impart on their students.  Give them a gift they will use forever.  Help your students embrace failure as a natural part of learning. Capable, smart people fail every day. It is how you cope with these failures that show your determination to succeed. 

Joanne McDonnell, M.Ed., Assistant Professor/Director of Education Programs at Anna Maria College. Joanne has taught PK-12 students and teachers in Massachusetts for thirty-six years.

To read Jessica Bennett’s article, Learning to Fail: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/24/fashion/fear-of-failure.html

Expand your learning through Ted Talks: J.K. Rowling the Fringe Benefits of Failure: https://www.ted.com/talks/jk_rowling_the_fringe_benefits_of_failure

The Unexpected Benefits of Failure, By Astro Teller: https://www.ted.com/talks/astro_teller_the_unexpected_benefit_of_celebrating_failure

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Peter Miller Receives NEASCAC Award

Peter Miller

The New England Association for College Admission Counseling Professional of the Year Award selected to Peter Miller for his contributions to the field of college admissions and counseling. These awards honor NEACAC members across the profession, including those affiliated with colleges and universities, high schools, independent counselors and community-based organizations.  Award recipients are strong and ethical advocates for students and/or their institutions and have a proven record of accomplishment throughout their careers.  They demonstrate honesty, patience, thoroughness and sensitivity in their work with students, parents and colleagues.  They are mentors, leaders and consummate professionals within the college admissions and financial aid profession.

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2017 Athletic Awards Night

2017 Athletic Awards Night

On Monday, May 1, 2017 Anna Maria College held its annual Athletic Awards Night. Congratulations to all of our seniors and awards recipients.

Click here to view the photos from that night.

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2017 Academic and Leadership Awards Night

2017 Academic Awards night

On Thursday, April 27, 2017 Anna Maria College culminated its Academic Symposium with an Academic and Leadership awards night. Congratulations to all of the inductees into honor societies and the academic and leadership award recipients.

Click here to view the photos from that night.

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Career Path: Social Work

MSW

Anna Maria College has expanded its degree opportunities for students pursuing careers in the social services sector. The college’s new Master of Social Work (MSW) program is uniquely designed so students take classes while doing concurrent fieldwork. This gives participants the chance to apply what they learn in the classroom to real world experience, allowing for a more well-rounded education and advantages when it comes to job placement.  

Anna Maria College alumni with social work degrees can be found working in a variety of employment settings around the region, including social services agencies, hospitals and treatment centers, nursing homes, prisons and correctional facilities, elementary and secondary schools, nonprofit organizations, as well as in local, state, and federal government.

The graduate program is approved for candidacy by the Council on Social Work Education and is now accepting applications for the 2017 fall semester. Students will have the opportunity to participate in a full or part-time program that will run on week nights and weekends. For more information on the Masters in Social Work program visit www.annamaria.edu/msw.

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