Foreign language learning 'declining rapidly' in Wales


Modern foreign language learning in secondary schools in Wales is “declining rapidly” according to a major study.

Budget cuts, overloaded school timetables and Welsh government assessment systems were blamed.

The number of pupils taking French and German at GCSE has halved since 2002.

The education minister has now announced “a radical and new approach” including schools which will be centres of excellence.

The report by the British Council and CfBT Education Trust found “no sense of dynamism” and little prospect of improvement.

In 2005, 12,826 children studied a language at GCSE, but by 2014 the number had fallen by a third to 8,601.

Nearly two-thirds of secondary schools took part in the survey.

Although there has been a decline in the study of foreign languages in other parts of the UK, England and Scotland have both introduced policies to increase the provision.

Since September 2014 every child in a primary school in England has to learn a modern or ancient language.

Scotland has recently announced increased funding to ensure that all pupils not only start learning a foreign language by the first year of primary school, but also begin to learn a third language later in primary education.

The findings came from responses from 136 schools

According to the report: “Languages other than English and Welsh are not part of the primary curriculum in Wales, making Wales, along with Northern Ireland, the countries with the shortest period of compulsory foreign language learning in Europe.”

“Wales is very likely to fall even further behind in future, with serious implications for the comparability of Welsh and English GCSEs in foreign language subjects.”

Graphicthe report’s conclusions as to why modern languages are declining in schools

In the first three years of secondary school in Wales, all pupils have to study a foreign language. But according to the report “many pupils are receiving only a minimal or fragmented experience of language learning”.

The report finds “little prospect of improvement or of the decline being stemmed” as things stand.


Pupils at Abertillery Comprehensive have the option of learning Spanish as the only modern language on offer, with French and German no longer available.

They were seen as difficult, while Spanish was a subject pupils could “latch onto” and similarities with learning Welsh was another factor.

Melanie Gill, head of languages, said there was still much to do.

“Pupils seem to link languages with working abroad. They don’t seem to link it with local companies, that they can get jobs here too.

“We’re having to work much harder to make it more fun, desirable – they don’t see languages as being as important as the core subjects and I don’t think that schools do generally either with literacy, numeracy and science seen as more important over subjects like languages.”


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Media captionSarah Grain, from Bedwas-based firm Eriez, calls the lack of language skills in the UK ‘soul destroying’

Electro magnetics firm Eriez, based at Bedwas, Caerphilly county, has a small sales team but has to recruit workers who are UK-based from around Europe because they have the necessary language skills.

Sarah Grain, exports sales manager, said it was “soul destroying” that they were unable to hire home-grown staff because the schools were not producing pupils qualified in modern languages.

She added: “The only place we can found those skills are young people who have come to the UK from other European countries and have multiple language skills.”

Education Minister Huw Lewis said language skills were important for jobs and Welsh business and Wales could not “just carry on with business as usual”.

His new approach includes:

  • Global Futures – a plan to improve and promote modern foreign languages
  • four secondary schools across Wales being appointed regional centres of excellence
  • the centres linking up with language institutes and working with local schools to drive up teaching standards
  • experts from schools, universities, Estyn, British Council and language institutes ensuring the plan is fully implemented
  • looking to work with the BBC and Open University “to harness new digital technologies to improve language learning for pupils and teachers”.

Mr Lewis said: “This problem is not unique to Wales, but it is one I am determined to tackle.

“I want to ensure that more and more of our young people actively choose to study a modern foreign language as part of their school education, and develop the skills they need to thrive in a modern global economy.”

Things Parents Should Know About School Rankings

Parents should know how school rankings could affect the education of their children. Questions associated to school ranking may come into our minds, especially if they are interested with current education systems. However, interpreting school ranking can be rather daunting for adults who are unfamiliar with such a system.

Unfortunately Department of Education (DoE) in each state could have different standardization system that can be confusing to families that move to different states often. Due to difference of details in each state, it may be difficult to explain school rankings conclusively. However, there are a number of facts we should know:

Things Parents Should Know About School Rankings

• State-wide rankings:

Parents could look at state-wide rankings to determine the best schools in specific states. This can be important information for parents who are planning to move to a new state, especially if they don’t know which city or county they will live in. With state-wide rankings, we can accurately judge where we should move between states.

• District-wide rankings:

With district-wide rankings, we could know the best school in the area, especially when we know where we will be moving. District rankings rate educational institutions based on locations of each district. It should be much easier for parents to choose which schools their children need to attend.

City-wide rankings:

These are rankings for narrower geographical areas. Rankings could be classified differently for elementary, middle and high schools. Parents can use this valuable information to make better decisions on where they need to enrol their children.

Overall, parents could get much of the information when they need by using school ranking. They could easily judge potentially best schools in different states, districts and cities. It is necessary to take into consideration potential development phase of children and whether the school could provide programs that prepare children for the future. While rankings could give us an idea on the quality of the school, it is not a good idea to judge schools only based on ranks.

In fact, fourth or fifth best schools in an area could be better for our children because they provide specific programs and services. It is not a good idea enrolling our children to the best schools possible if they don’t fit with available programs.

However, if multiple schools offer the same educational programs, we could see other factors to make proper decisions.

Regardless of what parents do, they should be involved actively in the education of their children. The DoE website for each state could provide detailed information parents need when they plan to move to different state. Other looking at school rankings, we should inquire into their educational programs. Parents could accurately judge the best school for their children by being proactive and take everything into consideration.

It should be noted that best schools tend to be more expensive and parents should make sure that they are prepared financially. In fact, many students from more standard, moderate-quality schools are able to enter first-class colleges and universities.

About: Author is an employee of reputed seo services company. He’s likes blogging on internet marketing, small business tips and Finance.

8 Ways To Prepare Children For School After Long Vacation

While summer months and Christmas are wonderful, parents will eventually have to prepare children to go back to school when the time comes. Here are ways parents could do to make the transition process smoother:

1. Go to shop early:

Parents should go to shop early to buy clothes and supplies when needed. Last-minute-shopping could cause a lot of stress, since we could deal with half-empty shelves and higher prices.

8 Ways To Prepare Children For School After Long Vacation

2. Make sure school bus will pick our children up:

Parents should confirm with the school that they will keep the previous bus route. This way, we won’t be surprised by the fact that the bus doesn’t show up while our children are waiting on the lawn. Confirmation must be made in advance to avoid unnecessary headache.

3. Buy lunch tickets:

Contact the school when we can purchase lunch tickets. In some cases, lunch tickets could be purchased before the school starts, so we can do it when we have the opportunity. Alternatively, parents could give children food boxes, if they still don’t have the chance to purchase the tickets.

4. Check for latest updates:

Schools might make some announcements when our family was in vacation. We should immediately contact the school for latest updates, since there could something that parents and students need to prepare before the regular schooldays start.

5. Plan our calendar properly:

By planning our calendar, we will know which days are holidays, short days and break. Some schools provide these calendars, so students could be better prepared. If children are active in sporting events, we should make sure that the calendar could accommodate their schedules. Well-planned calendar could help minimize school-related stress.

6. Buy books:

Teachers and school could send us a letter or email on books that children need to have. It’s particularly true for high school because some of the textbooks must be bought in libraries or from online stores. English teachers may require specific reading books and science teachers could require alternative material. Parents should buy these books as soon as they can.

In some smaller towns, there could never be enough variety of books, so the alternative is to buy from online stores. Parents shouldn’t rush-order books, because they don’t buy them early.

7. Perform health check-up:

Parents should check with the doctor whether children are due for specific immunizations. Immunization may cause mild fever as side effect, so parents should do this before the school starts. It is also necessary to perform vision and hearing tests to make sure children could study well at school.

8. Perform proper home routine:

One week before school starts, it is important to modify our sleep routine. Children should start to get used sleeping earlier and waking up earlier days before school starts. If possible, they should already finish bathing and eating breakfast by 7AM.

By performing these eight steps, it is possible for parents to prepare children for stress-free, go-back-to-school process. It is a bad idea to have last-minute rushes moments before school bus arrives.

About: Author is an employee of reputed seo services company. He’s likes blogging on internet marketing, small business tips and Finance.

How to solve the education related problems?

We all have lots of problems in the life and that is a common fact of the life. And due to these problems people are often frustrated and because of the reason that they are not able to find out reliable and accessible information related to these problems, they tend to lash out. Similarly students also face many problems related to the education and here are some suggestions to solve these educational problems.

There are many websites available by which you can find the solution of your problems. To direct the visitor to solve his or her problems, the free information will be provided by this website in the form of the news, advice and articles. The most efficient site will be an information-packed commercial site in the sense that to discuss in detail how the visitor can go about resolving his or her problems, this will also provide merchant products.

Essay Writing

Some of the Competitive offerings:

Here is a list of some of the top educational sites on the internet with their offerings. for the K-8 kids, it provides educational games.

US Department of Education: it provides information on financial aid, grants and contracts, educational research and statistics and teaching and learning resources as well as defines the US education policy.

Educational Testing Service: a range of the test resources is provided by this site.

GEM: educational resources like that of the lesson plans as well as other teaching and learning resources are provided by this site. fun learning tools and games for the kids are provided by it.

NASA Education Enterprise: it gives us the information and material regarding to the space technology and exploration.

Education world: it gives us information relating to the professional development, integration of technology and lessons plans.

Department Of Education And Skills: it is a department site of the UK government that gives us advice and knowledge about different kinds of the skills and educational topics.

Spartacus Educational: this is a British based online encyclopedia. It gives us the information on the historical topics.

Times Educational Supplement: it gives educational and teaching resources and the news about teaching to help the UK teachers. Followings are their limitations:

1)      They only cover the narrow range of educational market.

2)      They have less problem focus i.e. they do not focus on the typical education and the learning problems that parents and students focus on the daily basis.

3)      As conclusion of the preceding point the offered solutions are not incisive.

4)      They do not give the merchant products and the related solutions.

The client profile of the module of educational solution site is same as that of the other sites. It is made for both females and males. The knowledge will help you to apply economic finances and will help you from the wasting of money.

Problem-Centered Solution is free solution. It is well organized and in pragmatic articles form. These are written by the experts. Each article gives the information about specified daily base problem but not about the detail.

Guide to writing an excellent essay

8If you are someone who has been struggling with essay writing then don’t worry, we will inform you on this matter. Essay writing is a crucial part of getting admission in your dram college and it is supposed to be hard. So don’t worry, you are not the first one to experience problems. Almost every student finds it difficult to write essays for college applications. We will help you in writing a high quality essay by educating you about the various important aspects of essay writing.

  • Staying relevant to the topic:

The first thing you have to do while write my essay is that you have to understand the topic given to you. If you have a very abstract topic, then try to understand the reason of giving such a topic and its underlying importance. Once you understand the topic, you must decide on the theme. Actually the theme gets decided in the very first paragraph naturally. Once you finish the first paragraph, read it again and try to identify the tone that is being reflected in it. Make sure that you stick to the same tone. Sticking to the same tone will automatically develop an overall theme of your essay. If after reading the first paragraph, you find that there is no clear theme or tone being reflected then start over again. There is no reason why you shouldn’t draft another essay if you think that the first draft is not able to express the generality of your views

  • Deciding on the number of words:

There is no such particular rule written in stone that bounds you to a certain word limit. The same thing that can be said in two lines can also be said in two hundred lines. It all depends on how you present it. As an educated person, you shouldn’t be too straightforward in your essay. If you put the facts and figures in a straightforward fashion then it will appear as if you presented the evaluators with a list instead of an essay. Try to provide arguments and counter arguments on the topic. You can put in your own views and perception and philosophy. But make sure that you are not simply beating around the bush. Repeating the same thing over and over again won’t get you more marks.

  • Get your essay evaluated:

We advise you to get your essay evaluated from a professional essay writing service before you make the final submission. This will make sure that there are no mistakes in your essay. A lot of students put their faith in writers at Read some reviews before you contact any particular essay writing service.

Essay Writing Tips That Work

Essay writing can be tough for many students. But it is possible to deal with almost all types of topics if you learn some essay writing tips and tricks. Though the option of hiring professional writing services is also there by reading reviews such as, it is good to hone your own skills. Here are some important pointers that can help you improve your essay writing skills and handle your essays without any problem.

  • Understand – Once you get a topic, you must spend good time on time and understand the subject carefully. Read the essay question carefully and highlight key words. In case you do not understand any word, use the dictionary and find out its meaning. The better you understand a topic the easier will it be for you to write on it.
  • Research – The next step is to do research on the given topic. You can read the relevant materials using the internet or look for information in your school library. Remember to write down quotations that may be valuable. You must also take note of sources so that you may mention them in the footnotes and the bibliography.
  • Thesis – The thesis is a statement that expresses the response to the question. It is generally written down in the end of the introductory paragraph. Your theses should not be too simplistic. In fact, it should show thought has been put into some of the intricacies behind the question. As it is like the backbone of the essay, make sure it is as impressive and powerful as possible.

Writing Tips

  • The introduction – The introductory paragraph of your essay must be such that it may grab the attention of the reader instantly. In this section you need to explain how the questions will be answered and provide an overview of all that you are going to talk about in your essay.
  • The body – Once you start the main body of your essay, you must write each point in a separate paragraph. This gives clarity and makes each point clear. It is always recommended to begin each paragraph with a topic sentence that links the paragraph to the rest of the essay. You must also provide supporting evidence for your points.
  • The conclusion – You must close your essay with a proper conclusion by summarizing the main ideas. Make sure you end your essay in an interesting manner.
  • Editing – Once you are done, you must edit your essay and look for spelling, punctuation and grammar errors. Correct what must be corrected or delete anything that seems irrelevant.

Following these points will help you write quality essays that will help you get good grades. But if you think it is too much for you and you cannot focus much on these points to write a powerful essay, you can always hire professional writing services. Reading online reviews of writing services can be useful to find the best writing services that can help you complete your writing projects timely. Online reviews help you find out the features and other details of professional essay writing services such as cost, customer service etc. which in turn allows you to make a well-informed decision.

What Are The Most Popular Singapore Math Textbooks?

We often talk about Singapore Math as one, coherent math curriculum, however, the truth is that teachers, parents and students have a few options to choose from. The Singapore Math textbooks are based on different Singaporean curricula and they are adapted to math teaching standards in different countries and states. Check what are the most popular Singapore Math textbooks and what are the main differences between these programs.

Singapore Math textbooks available in US

There are two types of Singapore Math textbooks available on the US market: Primary Mathematics and Math in Focus. Some bookstores also offer “Maths – No Problem!” series, however, this book was designed for UK students, in accordance with the national curriculum in the United Kingdom and therefore it will not be in line with the US Common Core State Standards. Apart from the two main series, the teachers can also buy Earlybird Kindergarten Mathematics for K1-2 and Dimensions Math for Grades 7 and above. These books were developed by the same company, which publishes Primary Mathematics and are designed as a continuation of the math curriculum.

What Are The Most Popular Singapore Math Textbooks

Primary Mathematics

Primary Mathematics was the first Singapore Math textbook available in the United States. The first edition was published in 1998 by Singapore Math Inc. and it was a literal translation of Primary Mathematics textbook used in Singapore as the official national curriculum. The early editions of Primary Mathematics were a bit difficult to use for American students, because they contained Singaporean names with British English spelling and were based on the Singaporean metric system. With the Singapore Math method gaining more popularity, there was also a growing need for a textbook, which would better reflect the US culture. The Primary Mathematics textbook was revised and the first US edition, which was no longer just a literal translation of Singaporean textbook, was published in 2003. Standards Edition of Primary Mathematics was published for the first time in 2008. The newest edition published in 2014 is consistent with the Common Core State Standards.

Math in Focus

Apart from the official curriculum, there are also several other math programs, which are applied in different Singaporean schools. One of such programs is based on a textbook called My Pals are Here Maths. This textbook was created in order to enhance creativity in Singaporean students, but it continues to deliver good results when it comes to the high position of Singaporean students in international math rankings. The American version of the book was first published in 2009 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and it contains a lot of new material not included in My Pals are Here Maths, which can be seen as an advantage or as a downside of this textbook. The newest version of the book is Math in Focus: Singapore Math published in 2014. Math in Focus program contains many additional books and materials, which can be used to practice math during classes or after school.

Both curricula have their weak and strong sides, but whichever option you decide on, remember to buy Singapore Math books from official providers, in order to receive high quality materials and professional training for teachers.

Marta Gromadzka is a writer and editor with a wide variety of experience, including writing for websites internationally and editing books on many different subjects and in a variety of formats.

How To Make Math Classes More Interesting

Teaching math can be as challenging as learning how to solve math problems. Even the simplest math concepts are often very complex and require skills, which have to be developed from scratch. Most teachers focus on covering content presented in math textbooks and often feel that there is no time for extra classes, which would present math as a fun subject. Those teachers, who struggle with making everyday classes more interesting for students, can certainly benefit from the following tips:

Make sure your students have a Voice

If your teaching method involves a lot of talking at students, no wonder they are not interested in the subject. Ideally, your students should be active for 50 percent of the time or more. Instead of explaining math problems by lecturing, engage your students more and stop every few minutes to ask questions, which your students can answer by themselves. This way your students can participate in the process of solving math problems, not only observe how you do it. Discuss math exercises together with your students and plan revise activities, which are more engaging for your students. Make sure that kids can practice solving math problems in groups and come up with their own ideas for the best solution. Typically, math teachers do not ask students for feedback, but this is a big mistake. Kids, who can express their opinions, doubts and needs are usually more engaged in studying. Researching students’ attitudes and needs will also help you evaluate your efforts and quickly adjust to your students’ requirements.

How To Make Math Classes More Interesting

Solve real problems

Instead of solving math problems, which involve abstract objects, use more concrete examples. Children respond better to math exercises, which include things they know from their everyday experience, so you can, for example, use objects in the classroom to present children with new math problems to solve. Older students can also practice math by learning more about applications of the rules of mathematics in their everyday life. For example, you can discuss with your students the problem of measuring and reducing energy consumption, introduce a few different methods and check which is most effective. Use your imagination to come up with interesting ideas, which will help you keep high levels of engagement among your students.

Leave abstract Concepts for later

Math is typically portrayed as a science of abstraction and this is what most students struggle with. The younger your students are, the more difficult it will be for them to comprehend abstract problems and even adults learn better, if they are provided with a concrete representation of the abstract problem. This is why innovative math teaching methods, such as Singapore math, rely on concrete examples and pictorial representations, before introducing abstract techniques for solving math problems. If you want to make your math classes more engaging, include as many practical and concrete exercises, as you can. If you are not sure how to make your teaching more practical and concrete, check Singapore math classes for teachers. By introducing Singapore math techniques into your everyday teaching methods, you can turn your math classes into a fun activity for your students and achieve better results.

Marta Gromadzka is a writer and editor with a wide variety of experience, including writing for websites internationally and editing books on many different subjects and in a variety of formats.

Creative Teaching Starts With Empowerment


Everyone has at least one story where they have witnessed the silencing of creativity.

It might be a story where a teacher or a district policy confused joy with disruption.  It might be a story where a child whose inner fire was lit by music and movement was forced to sit in a desk quietly to abide by curriculum standards and antiquated rules. It might be a story where a student who loves computer programming is told they cannot develop a new game that highlights their content knowledge as an alternative to an assignment. The ending is usually the same. The light for that person goes out. Sometimes the light goes out for a small period of time, sometimes the light is extinguished forever.

New teachers vow to do things differently.  They declare that their classroom will be shining beacons of creativity, joy, and engagement. And then something happens.  They step into the system and the system forces them to change too. The light goes out and the cycle is perpetuated.

But for all those teachers where the light goes out, there are a few who remain symbols of hope.  These are the teachers who despite their circumstances in a broken system, somehow remain to connect with students on a human level, and draw out what is best in their students.  These are the teachers who encourage students to pursue their interests and seem to intuitively know different creative strategies to unlock learning in different types of children. These are the teachers students remember 40 years later, when being asked in an interview, “Who influenced you?”  The question becomes, what makes these teacher different? How do they remain steadfast and unshaken while the education system around them seems to spin in insanity?

The difference is empowerment.

Empowerment is one of those words that gets thrown around quite often. So what then, does it mean to be empowered and how does that relate to creativity and change?

First off, empowerment cannot be bestowed upon someone. Although leadership and environment can create conditions for empowerment, true empowerment must come from within. Being empowered means creating feelings of autonomy, confidence, meaningfulness, and impact. Too often teachers have these feelings stripped away from them. New ideas are met with jealousy and criticism.  Parents question strategies and tactics that are unfamiliar to them. Policy and curriculum constrict creative strategies. It is death by a thousand cuts.

While the call for creativity in schools resonates clear and true, the implementation of creativity in schools requires relentless courage and empowerment. There will be questions. There will be skepticism. There may even be some laughter or jealousy. Creativity is not measurable by a single test score. In a culture that is fixated upon data, attempting to cultivate creativity is an uphill battle that only the bravest are willing to take on.

Luckily, there is a tribe of seasoned creative teacher warriors who have blazed the trail and are waiting in the wings. What these creative teacher warriors know is that exploratory learning, creative problem solving, and connecting to students as unique human beings unlocks gifts that ultimately lead to better test scores, innovative thinking, and yes, creativity. It takes some guts to fly that creativity flag when the world nods in agreement but turns its back when policy and administration say, “Yes, but not now. We have more important things to focus on.”

But those willing to do the work to put creativity back in schools know that the results are worth it. Empowerment is the first step to unlocking and cultivating creativity.

So how does a teacher get empowered to be creative in an environment that doesn’t encourage things like failure, autonomy, and messiness? Quite simple. One chooses to take it.  Choosing empowerment and reconnecting with the fire that burns within provides scaffolding for more creative acts. Empowerment makes way for awareness and awareness makes way for daily practice.  As Henri Matisse once said, “Creativity takes courage.” That courage comes from an empowerment. It means integrating the work from the head and the heart and the hands.

It’s time to get empowered. It’s time to be the change. Your tribe is waiting for you.

21 Ideas To Help Students Keep Their Momentum


“Failing Forward” is a relatively recent entry into our cultural lexicon–at least as far has headlines go anyway–that has utility for students and teachers.

Popularized from the book of the same name, the idea behind failing forward is to see failing as a part of success rather than its opposite. Provided we keep moving and pushing and trying and reflecting, failure should, assuming we’re thinking clearly, lead to progress, So rather than failing and falling back, we fail forward. Tidy little metaphor.

So what might this look like in your classroom?

Failing Forward In The Classroom: 21 Ideas To Help Students Keep Their Momentum

1. Design iterative work (i.e., work that deserves and is conducive to revision and iteration)

How does this promote failing forward? If there’s no stopping point, then mistakes are simply opportunities.

Say: “Your design work on the app blueprint is coming along nicely. Awesome job using the feedback from the subreddit you got the idea from.”

2. Use project-based learning

How does this promote failing forward? Not only does PBL encourage iteration, but it also reduces the snapshot effect of academic assessment, where stakes are high, errors are costly, and there is almost always a right and wrong answer.

Say: “Your first two drafts didn’t work so well, huh? What can you take from each of them–what’s salvageable and what’s not?”

3. Help students publish their thinking

How does this promote failing forward? This helps mistakes become a matter of transaction between the student and their audience, i.e., the writer and the reader.

Say: “How did your audience respond to your ideas? Based on that, as data, how might you respond?”

4. Connect students with communities

How does this promote failing forward? In the classroom, students are motivated by performance and image; in a community–assuming it’s one the student cares about–they are motivated by the effect of the work and an identity that’s crafted over time. Or they should be anyway, depending on the nature of the connection with the community.

5. Develop a grading system that suggests it

How does this promote failing forward? Good old-fashioned extrinsic motivation. So give them points for correcting mistakes instead of not making them to begin with.

Say: “This essay was well-conceived; loved the clear purpose here, so you got full points for your initial execution. For the remaining points, you’ll now need to go back and revise this and edit that and that.

6. Recognize it with badges, feedback, and celebration

How does this promote failing forward? As with #5, you don’t just claim to embrace mistakes, you provide instant feedback for it as a good thing with some kind of gamification, or merely a genuine one-on-one conversation with the student.

Say: “I was especially proud of the way you revisited this problem and found a better solution; you’ve now unlocked this achievement.”

7. Consider a no-zero policy (i.e., don’t “allow” zeroes as a team, grade level, or department)

How does this promote failing forward? When you insist that every assignment has to be completed by every student regardless of circumstance, you send a powerful message that all work is important. So A) Make sure the work they do is, in fact, worth their time, but B) Let them know through a well thought-out no-zero policy that failing to turn in an assignment isn’t the end of anything, nor will it simply become a mathematical effect on their grade.

8. Use Habits of Mind

How does this promote failing forward? Habits of Mind promote non-academic priorities that are hugely personal, and, once internalized by the student, valuable in and out of the classroom.

9. Help students practice metacognition

How does this promote failing forward? The more than can monitor their own thinking and performance, the more flexible they have a chance to be in real-time while doing the work to begin with, especially when you’re not around.

Say: “When you got to this point in the design process, what was your main focus?”

listeup-teaching-vocabulary-fi10. Model failure

How does this promote failing forward? You, as a professional, are modeling the humility and perseverance it takes to fail forward.

Say: “I created this test to help me understand what you understand, but I messed up; it doesn’t do that very well. In fact, it’s confused both you and me, and now I have to figure out how to respond.”

11. Study failure (often by those with “street cred” for students)

How does this promote failing forward? See #10, only this time it’s someone outside the classroom, so it has a chance for a different kind of credibility.

Say: “In 1895 when Nikola Tesla’s lab burned and he lost many of his notes and much of his equipment, he could’ve rested on his reputation and gotten a cushy job working for someone else. Instead…”

12. Require students to revise all incomplete work (and it’s “Incomplete” if it’s not proficient)

How does this promote failing forward? This is a similar to a no-zero policy–all work needs to demonstrate a certain level of quality, or it needs to be improved.

Say: “This is so close to representing what you’re able to do. How can we take this and use it to push further?”

13. Grade for 2 or 3 prioritized ideas, not 10

How does this promote failing forward? Oftentimes, those students in need of the most help have the most to improve upon/recover from after feedback and grading. Keep it simply. Grade in stages, or better yet, personalize the grading for that student.

14. Help them be their own best critic (not worst)

How does this promote failing forward? If you can help them, in fact, become their own best critic, they’ll hold themselves to a higher standard than you ever could. but from a position of possibility, not judgment.

15. Have a crystal-clear grading policy that is knowledge and experimentation-friendly, rather than closed and risk-averse

How does this promote failing forward? By studying your grading system, you can be more certain what it “encourages.” By sharing it with others, you can get their feedback, revise it until it encourages what you’d like it to, and then make sure students understand how they’re being graded and why.

16. Have a short memory as a teacher if it benefits learners

How does this promote failing forward? Mistakes should be temporary; students can’t have a growth mindset if their learning leader holds grudges.

17. Help students create and use checklists

How does this promote failing forward? This one more protects the student from that initial failure than helps them respond after they do.

Say: “This checklist should help you as you begin planning your project. If it doesn’t, let’s revise it until it does.”

18. This one isn’t simple, but differentiate or personalize learning

How does this promote failing forward?  The more just enough, just in time, just for me it is, the more it can suggest true ownership by students–and ownership can lead to pride, pride to grit and affection and improvement.

19. Gamify your classroom by highlighting the process and nuance of student performance

How does this promote failing forward? The more visible the process of failure and recovery are, the more “failure literature” students can be, and the better they’ll be able to duplicate the failure-recovery process on their own.

20. Emphasizing iteration and progress over finishing and completion

How does this promote failing forward? Like #1, this focuses on learning as a process; unlike #1, this has less to do with how you design the work, and more with how students see the work you’ve already planned and how they approach it. (#19 can come in handy here as well.)

21. Every student has their own goals, sensitivities, and insecurities. As much as you can, honor that

How does this promote failing forward?

Say: “You’re one of the most creative students I’ve ever met with extraordinary potential. With that in mind, I’ve developed a unique grading system for you this 9 weeks to see if we can’t use all that talent.”

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