Ask an Expert: Are we equipping our children to adequately cope with the world?

Allow kids to fail

Photo by marco antonio torres via Flickr

With our current ‘bubble wrap’ approach to raising our children, their limited opportunities for exploration, imagination and risk taking in their lives are we equipping them to adequately cope with the world?

Kids need to learn resilience. They need to learn how to fail. Society generally sees failure as a negative thing, but through failure comes learning. James Dyson spent 15 years designing the Dyson vacuum cleaner and failed 5,125 times before he created one that worked. Imagine if he stopped at 5,125?

We need to develop a schooling system that allows failure and sees it as a part of the learning journey. Schools need to nurture inventors, innovators, scientists, entrepreneurs, problem solvers and thought leaders. And this requires us to teach skills that allow students to think critically, problem solve, be creative and take risks.

There’s a saying: ‘Imagine what you could do if you knew you couldn’t fail’. I say, ‘Imagine what you could do if you knew you were allowed to fail’.

Greg Whitby is the executive director of 78 schools in the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta and author of Educating Gen Wi-fi: How to make schools relevant for 21st century learners.

Our Ask an Expert Week panelists are all qualified professionals in their field. However, advice given on The Kids Are All Right website is not a substitute for direct, personal, professional counselling or psychological care, medical care and diagnosis.

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