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Afraid to Fail-Why Some Students Don’t Even Try.


Student at the back of class no even trying

On the subject of participation in the classroom, we’ve looked at how to encourage your child to raise his hand in class, and how participation in the classroom can improve grades.

We’ve also touched on how being shy can prohibit a child’s willingness to participate. But another big reason that accounts for an unwillingness to participate in class is a fear of failing.

It seems that there is a perception among students that if you are not 100% right, it is better to not try at all.

Which is understandable. After all school can be a very competitive environment. We live in a culture driven to achieve top grades. Parents, teachers, school boards, and even advertisers all preach the message that good grades are the key to success in life. It’s an all-pervasive message that surrounds everything that a student does. So it’s only natural then that a student who can’t compete at the A-level wouldn’t want to compete at all.

But the message that we should be sending to students is the only way to get the grades—to get ahead, to be on the winning team—is to TRY. Students need to forget the negative and focus on the positive.

We need to tell our students that it’s ok to have the wrong answer occasionally. Some of the greatest minds of our time had to fail several times before they were successful.

In his quest to find a route to India, Christopher Columbus found the Caribbean. He wasn’t the world’s best navigator, but the point here is that he tried. He didn’t give up.

Success comes from the attempt. It’s okay to be the student who puts his hand up to answer a question a hundred times and only be right once. It’s certainly better than never putting your hand up at all.

You’ve heard the saying that goes: if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again? It’s a good refrain to remember in life, and an even better one to remember in the classroom.

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