When Is the Right Time to Fail?

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When is the right time to let a child fail? Now or never…. In many parts of the world the word failure is considered a bad word. The word failure carries a negative connotation and is considered to be a deterrent to many school age children. It is one of the aspects of life that are best left not discussed in many social circles. There is a fairly even split in opinions of the parents and teachers on whether a child should fail a test, assignment or grade if they are unable to accomplish the goals set out by the various school boards. Failing grades can be seen as punishment, cause mental anguish and negative repercussions. Some teachers and parents though, feel that failing students when necessary help develop better problem solving skills, teach student life skills as well as growth and positive behaviors towards failing. Many parents and teachers feel that failing can be detrimental to a child’s psychological development. The thought behind this theory is that if a child fails at school, it will lead to discontentment and negative feelings in the child as they grow. Some feel this may be one of the reasons behind the number of criminals in our justice system. Failure can create frustration and anxiety leading to a feeling of desperation to succeed. This could mean to an individual that success must be achieved by any means possible even using the wrong methods to do so. Cheating, stealing and lying are deemed as possible behaviors for adults that learned as children that failure was not an option. The idea of the no-zero policy in our schools is that the students should not be allowed to fail. Cara Smusiak, Managing Editor of the magazine Canadian Family, states that the theory behind a no-zero policy is that “Students should be given every opportunity to allow them the best chance to succeed and move on to the next level of their
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