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Behavior: why is teaching ‘everybody is a winner’ a problem?

Date: February 8th, 2017
By: Polly Bath

Polly Bath: Sometimes we have to allow kids to fail, just to experience that, don’t we? The world that we’ve set up for kids of, “Everybody gets a trophy, everybody’s a winner, everybody gets an A,” is a huge problem.

If they had a really good sense of belonging in our classrooms, and know that it mattered that they were there every day, or not there every day, whatever, that it matters that you are here, they’re more likely to take on something that’s difficult, and they’ll be OK when they fail.

My high school kids come to me all the time at the end of the semester, and they’ll say, “Miss, I didn’t do this. Can I do some make-up work? Can I do extra credit?”

I’m like, “No. You can do the work you didn’t do in February, but you’re going to have to take the class over because you’ve already failed.”

They’re looking at me, “That can’t happen.”

And I think, “What happened? You came through your whole life without ever being allowed to fail?”

How does one do something better and build off of that confidence if we don’t allow that to happen?