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Their Thoughts

Response to Weekly Wonder: I wonder if we should fail kids.

I’ll start by agreeing about mission impossible. I work with developmental disabled adults and my job is to teach them daily living skills. However, when I am working with 3-6 adults that all need constant assistance in necessities such as grooming, eating, and tolieting, it proves to be difficult not to take short cuts. What the state of Washington is expecting from staff is really not plausible unless each adult had their own trainer to meet all their needs. I believe the struggle of being an educator is that they want every one of their students to succeed but can’t possibly individualize a lesson for 150 kids. Some kids undoubtedly will fall short. Now as far as the failing kids question…I think it may be a light shown on the keyhole that may lead a change. Here’s how: Students who fail are not motivated to try again or harder (typically). Once a student is sent down a path of failing they typically accept they aren’t able and leave it at that. I took a intro to literature class which I was very excited about but the class was huge and it was just lectures and computer work. I found this very unappealing and failed the course twice even knowing the majority of the material the second time taking it. I will NOT try a third time because I know it does not work for me.
Here’s where I get a little contradictory.
I think there has to be some failure. If a classroom is designed for everyone to pass there is not challenge, strive, or correction. There would be not measurable data whether the teacher is teaching effectively or if the students are really learning. I do however believe that there should be multiple things in the classroom that are fail proof. All that is needed is participation. In all subjects, if a student is giving some hope that they have a chance of succeeding or given a confidence boost I think we’ll see an improvement in classroom performance.

~Alyssa Abel, Cheney High School graduate, student at Eastern Washington University

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