By Sunny Verma, President & Founder of TutorBright
A lingering question keeps coming up in conversations around the world, over dinner tables, in policy meetings, and everywhere in between: Why are our children not reaching their potential – especially when it comes to education?
We speculate on the reasons, from social media to a changing curriculum, but often the missing ingredient is much simpler than that – it’s a fear of failure.
As parents, teachers and influencers in the next generation, we absolutely need to look at how we can make learning fun and how we can change the perception of failure into a stepping stone for success.
At TutorBright, we have the amazing pleasure of working with tens of thousands of students, and through that experience, we have created a philosophy that makes a child (or any person) limitless. These are our core beliefs:
- Failure is Good!
Failure carries an extremely negative perception, but the truth is that failure should be viewed as a stepping-stone towards success. Think about it – every single one of us has heroes and role models (children and adults alike). These heroes tend to range from amazing athletes (like Michael Jordan) to world leaders (like Nelson Mandela) or business icons (like Steve Jobs). And the reason why we value and look up to them is not only the success that they have had, but also the journey they took to achieve that success, and the hardships and difficulties they overcame along the way.We need constantly remind our children that in order to be great, failure is inevitable. Failure is a part of life. Instead of being discouraged by it, we should remind our children that they too are on a journey to greatness, just like their heroes, and we should encourage them to learn from their mistakes, reflect on their missteps, and tell themselves they are stronger for failing.
- Let’s Remove Labels
When we are young, our brains are extremely malleable. We are influenced by those around us, especially our parents and teachers. Because we are taught to respect and listen to our elders, we tend to believe everything they say about us. We have an extremely powerful responsibility as adults, and we have the capability to alter a child’s life for better or worse.When a child is consistently doing poorly in a subject (let’s say math), we tend to tell them that they are just not a “math student”, instead of trying to teach them in a way that makes sense to them, or encouraging them to grow from their mistakes. The label of “not good at math” can be life altering. Many kids have dreams of becoming an astronaut, engineer, inventor, etc. – all of which require one to be good at math. When a child has lofty ambitions and we tell them they’re not good at math, we are also telling them that they will never become their ambitions. So, instead of labeling children, we need to find new, engaging ways of teaching to make core subjects (like math) make sense, and push them to persevere through those tough and frustrating days.Just remember, Edison was told he was “not good at math,” – what would the world be like if he adopted that belief?
- Measure effort, not results
One of the largest flaws we impose on the next generation is that we expect them to be (nearly) perfect. Because of this unrealistic expectation, we tend to condemn failure, and label our children. The truth is, the end result is never the real accomplishment – the true success lies in the journey it takes to get there.When a child who is typically an “F” student puts in a bit of effort and receives a “D-“ we should celebrate the effort, instead of thinking or saying a “D-“ is still not good enough! There is progress here, and it can be used as motivation to continue even further. Instead of telling someone they are still not good enough, we need to focus on praising their efforts, as efforts will yield more results. When we say “life is a journey, not a destination,” we have to remember that the same is true for education.
At TutorBright, we use this philosophy with every student we work with. We believe that the true recipe for success is a collaborative effort between the parents, the teacher and ourselves. If we collectively create a safe environment to learn, endorse failure as a stepping-stone for success, remove labels and measure effort, we can build confidence in any child and make them limitless!
Watch Sunny Verma on What She Said…