Let’s Fear Failure—But First Let’s Change the Definition (Summer Series) | Stephen Carter | 7 Min Read

Summer Series 3: In the spirit of meaning-making, let’s revise the meaning of failure.

June 29, 2023

It’s trendy in educational circles to talk about “embracing the learning experience of failure” or “teaching students to not fear failure,” but at the end of the day, it’s the same old story: we’re afraid. When we do a cost-benefit analysis, we tend to overload the cost side and assume it is not worth the risk. When we consider our shareholders, our customers, and our employees, we decide to play it safe and minimize damage. Playing it safe can certainly be appealing—especially in the independent school arena. When the school board looks at enrollment numbers and makes a direct comparison to customer satisfaction in the classroom, it can be enticing to continue to rely on tested methods of the past. It can be enticing to avoid failure at all costs. It can be enticing to stay comfortable.

But comfort is the enemy of progress. Consider one of the greatest “failures” in Greek mythology: the flight of Icarus. Joined by his father, Daedalus, Icarus donned feathered wings to escape the labyrinth. He was instructed to avoid flying too close to the sun lest…

Register Now
You may use your member school or partner discount code !!!

Stephen Carter

Stephen Carter is the Director of Entrepreneurship and Sustainability at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy where he has taught for 18 years. His most recent book, Teaching the Entrepreneurial Mindset, chronicles the ten-year journey of developing the entrepreneurship and sustainability program and his own experience in learning to think like an entrepreneur. He is the founder of Seed Tree Group (www.seedtreegroup.com) where he helps K-12 schools build impactful entrepreneurship programming. He can be reached at [email protected].