Cultivating Mindfulness: Teaching Children To Learn From Failure

Gallery Of Cultivating Mindfulness: Teaching Children To Learn From Failure

Cultivating Mindfulness: Teaching Children To Learn From Failure

Cultivating Mindfulness: Teaching Children To Learn From Failure

Posted on November 19, 2018 by

How comfortable are you with making mistakes and admitting failure? Is it easy for you or do you avoid admitting mistakes and pass blame? I think we all have come across different types of people when it comes to dealing with failure. Some can just roll with it, brushing mistakes off like the lint off their shoulder saying, “Eh, whatever,” while others hang on to each mistake or failure, over analyzing them, replaying them over and over in their mind, questioning and self-doubting. And then there are some who totter between the two. I am certainly not the type to let mistakes just roll off my shoulders, but I have come a long way with being more mindful about letting myself go through the uncomfortable feelings and stages of the mistake making process and teaching my students how to go through it as well. Afterall, it is perfectly normal to experience failure at some point in your life, or at many points, especially failure that needs to happen to open doors to great ideas, opportunities, possibilities and adventures. Failure should be expected. So why it is difficult to own up to and accept our mistakes? Is it because it bruises our ego, depletes our confidence, and perhaps gives us a feeling of defeat? Or have we not enough experiences with going through the process of making mistakes in a mindful way, focusing on the awareness and acceptance in the present moment?

All too often children, as well as adults, struggle with making mistakes and the idea of failure. Failure is tough to swallow, especially for kids. It seems that parents are intervening more than ever these days. I hear stories about parents arguing with teachers over failing grades demanding them to be changed, questioning teachers grading policies and making excuses for their children when the quality of work and effort just wasn’t up to par. That’s concerning because in the real world, those kids will not have their parents to defend them when they make mistakes or when failure comes a knockin’ at their front door in their professional and personal life.

Making mistakes is part of life. Failure is part of the journey. It’s all part of the learning process and it has its benefits. “When teachers allow students to fail – and to learn from their mistakes- they teach more than the standardized curriculum; they teach resilience, confidence and strength. They demonstrate that people don’t always win in life and that it’s okay” . It teaches children to take risks and to work hard. It thickens their skin and prepares them for future success. I saw this first hand recently with my 7 year old son. In his karate class he was testing for a stripe on his belt and failed it twice. He was a bit disappointed but he didn’t give up. He came home and practiced his form over and over until it was just right. During his next class, he raced in to test with confidence and earned his stripe. He was so excited, beaming from ear to ear, because he earned something from hard work and perserverance. A feeling you get when achieving success after failure. A proud moment!

Cultivating Mindfulness: Teaching Children To Learn From Failure

I saw many of my young elementary students break down when they made mistakes or failed, throwing inner and outer tantrums, becoming easily frustrated, shutting down, and showing little or no perseverance. And then there were some students that had so much anxiety and fear of failure that they struggled with just about anything and everything, falling right into either the perfectionist or procrastination pit. We created a class motto to change their perspective about making mistakes and posted it in our classroom.

We read this motto during our daily morning meeting practicing mindfulness as we embarked upon each and every school day, every challenge and every obstacle. We learned to be comfortable with our mistakes and to build each other up. Afterall, we were a team- we worked as a team, we played as a team and we learned as a team- through mistakes and all. We focused on the importance of the process of making mistakes and how it shaped us into lifelong learners and developed a growth mindset.

Recognizing that failure is normal and is part of the learning process is so important to teach children at a young age. So many kids are used to being reprimanded for failing and fear getting into trouble. They shut down or procrastinate from the start, or don’t follow through with the task at hand, often leading to avoidance or blame. Kids need to know what it feels like to fail. They need to learn how to cope with the uncomfortable emotions that failure brings. Getting comfortable with these uncomfortable feelings helps us to persevere through them.

Owning our mistakes, as children and adults, is also so important. Taking responsibility for our actions and words is key in this process. I know as teachers and parents we want to take away the sting of a mistake, but in the long run that doesn’t help our children in the real world. Owning brings forth accountability and change.

Accepting our mistakes and failures helps us to move forward. Dwelling on mistakes from the past, questioning and self-doubting distracts us from the present moment. This is where we can again practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is a particular state of consciousness that involves awareness and acceptance of whatever is happening in the present moment . Focusing on and accepting failure at the present moment, not seeing it as an obstacle, but more like a challenge in an obstacle course, allows us to think clearly using our wits and skills to problem solve through it. Acceptance instills a mindset of not surrendering to failure, but learning from it and moving forward in a positive way.

Cultivating Mindfulness: Teaching Children To Learn From Failure

Reflecting is a necessary practice to do with young children daily and needs a lot of modeling and guidance. What caused the mistake and how could I reflect, fix it and move on? How could I grow from this? What did I learn? What could or would I do differently next time? Students must learn how to reflect and to recover from their mistakes so they could move forward. Having students take time for daily reflection and setting helps students work through their mistakes and toward success.

Check out my to teach your students how to R.O.A.R. through failure.

We must remember as educators that as we teach content, we teach problem solving in every sense. STEM education alone takes students through an intricate process of rethinking, redesigning, replanning when there is a “mistake” in the process that fails to get to the desired end result. In everyday life, within every profession, there are so many decisions that we have to make in just one day and there’s bound to be mistakes and failure, but if we become mindful of the process we can and will overcome it bringing forth new opportunities for learning and growth.

So let’s “embrace the tears and bring on the breakdowns” and empower children to R.O.A.R. through their mistakes and failures so they can practice mindfulness and perseverance to be successful in the future.

What type of person are you when it comes to mistakes? Do you brush them off, over analyze or are somewhere in between? How do you teach students to get passed their mistakes and to learn from failure?

Cultivating Mindfulness: Teaching Children To Learn From Failure

Need support? Visit the to ask questions, share ideas and products. There are so many fantastic ideas and products posted there so be sure to check them out.

Be sure to go the for resources to support your classroom and join email list to receive the latest and greatest updates, plus receive monthly freebies!!

Please follow and like For The Love of Teachers

Christine Weis is a passionate elementary teacher, TpT Author, Transformational Coach, busy mom of two boys and founder of For The Love of Teachers, a website and blog dedicated to teacher collaboration, professional growth and useful resources.

Posted in and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

Cultivating Mindfulness: Teaching Children To Learn From Failure

simply great , useful post. thanks

Christine at For The Love of Teachers

I love this post! I will be using R.O.A.R. with my children!

Thank you!! That’s awesome! It’s a great acronym to use and easy to remember. Thanks for reading!

Christine at For The Love of Teachers

Cultivating Mindfulness: Teaching Children To Learn From Failure

I am loving the ROAR acronym! It’s perfect! Thank you for sharing!

Thanks…me too! Acronyms stick and this one really help students to think about the mistake making process. Thanks for reading!

Christine at For The Love of Teachers

I could not agree more. Let them learn from failure. If they keep winning, not that should not, if you hurt them quite bad if they fail once. I teach children and what I’ve seen if that when they fail at something, it motivates them even more to suceed.

Sometimes failure does motivate. It motivates me for sure. Not surrendering to failure is so important, plus I like a good challenge. ???? Thanks for reading!

Tags About Cultivating Mindfulness: Teaching Children To Learn From Failure