‘The word failure should never be used in education.’ Discuss

YES: The word or concept of failure is unacceptable to education as it undermines the fundamental principles and practices vital to successful education.

  1. Failure should not be introduced as a concept at the early stages of education, as it places undue stress on young children and may unfairly label them at a time when they are still developing basic academic, emotional, moral and psychological capacities.

  2. During adolescence, youths are at the most emotionally vulnerable period of their lives and the concept of failure should not be used carelessly by educators as doing so may be counterproductive and undermine the learning and maturation process of youths.

  3. Some aspects of education, such as extra-curricular activities thrive on positive encouragement and feedback, and we should not use failure as doing so would destroy the enjoyment and learning which students derive from the activity.

NO: The word or concept of failure is vital to successful education and should be accepted or even encouraged under the right circumstances.

  1. In the early stages of education, young children should be introduced to the concept of failure if it fulfills learning outcomes essential to their development, such as the link between individual actions and moral consequences in fairy tales.   

  2.  Adolescence is both the most emotionally vulnerable and enriching period of youths’ lives, making it the best time to introduce and reinforce the concept of failure as a positive and necessary aspect of human experience, such as through tests and competitions, where the rewards for success are only valuable when measured against the possibility of failure.

  3. Some aspects of education at the higher levels, such as undergraduate research thrive on failure as it provides valuable learning experiences for the successful delivery of research projects, making failure necessary to education.