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The Fail Fast Method And Its Effect On Youngsters

The Fail Fast Method And Its Effect On Younsters

Failure is a powerful word. Even more so when the victims of it are students. Failure, however, should not be confused with inadequate performance. We consider the two as mutually exclusive.

In layman terms, it is perfectly probable to have sufficient efforts yield little or no results. This may happen due to variables that influence results being out of our control; therefore, delivering an unsuccessful outcome. That being said, the sequel to the lack of real effort will almost certainly screen another unsuccessful outcome. For the remainder of this article, we will focus on:

The Effects Of Failure And The Fear Of It On Children And Younger Students

Karl Augustus Menninger said, "Fears are educated into us, and can if we wish, be educated out". What we understand by this is that fear is instilled in us at an early age. It can be argued that parents and educators, in the lives of children, are the culprits of this global phenomenon. Imagine a child who has a habit of wandering into his parent's closet. In an effort to stop the child from continuing to go into the closet, the parents inform the child that there's something bad in there. Without realizing it, the parents are creating the first instance of irrational fear within the child.

As children get older, pressures on and expectations from them change. A mature example, that I'm sure we can all relate too, is the pressure to achieve high grades in school. Although pressure isn't fear, the groundwork for consequence is the same in the eyes of the child. They fear that if they do not deliver high grades, then something bad will happen. As you can imagine this is common in most of our upbringings, however just because it's common does not make it correct or effective.

So how do we fix the problem? One answer lies in the fail fast method.

Fail fast is an approach adopted by lean startups with agile environments. The goal of this approach is to avoid the sunk cost effect, which is the tendency for humans to continue investing in something that clearly doesn't work as they naturally want to avoid failure. We can instill the same mindset in children as it’s much easier to establish cause and effect when actions and outcomes are close together in time. Continuously exercising this approach at a young age will lessen pressures and boost overall learning capabilities and problem-solving skills.

The benefits of failing fast should not be overlooked. If children feel that an attempt's failure will doom them in some way, then failure is demoralizing. But what they should focus on is the immediate ability to identify the problem in their approach and address it quickly. In other words, rather than spending and wasting time on a task only to fail. By 'failing fast' children can move onto the next attempt progressively increasing the chances of success.

Teachers are evaluated on class performance, thus establishing a link between their performance and their students. Unfortunately, this pressure is often transferred onto students. We need to assist our teachers, and educators and encourage them to inculcate the fail fast approach to their students. Even more important is the understanding that it is acceptable to fail. And yes, it may sound like a cliche and rightfully so, because it is. It's a cliche because it's true.

These days, many programs exist that operate with foundational methodologies that promote certain ideas. Some of those programs are listed below:

1. Kodable

Kodable eliminates written text code completely, making it a solid entry point for young children. It contains maze-like levels that help teach different programming concepts.

2. RoboGarden

This is an educational eLearning app that enables students to learn how to code and primarily focuses on the fail fast approach in its teachings. Robogarden blends visual blocks and written code and perfect harmony to introduce programming concepts to children eventually progressing into professional level coding.

3. Code.org

This website is not a platform itself, but is, in fact, a massive repository of platforms that promote elearning for kids. The best tools in the industry are listed at Code.org. They are also the company behind the ‘Hour of Code’ initiative.

Although we must advocate the importance of failing fast, it is imperative to respect the applicability of the approach and the circumstances it requires. If an insufficient effort is inputted then failure is inevitable and usually, no knowledge is gained from it. This is why it is the responsibility of parents and of educators to promote hard work even if the result may be a potential failure.


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