Posted by: crudbasher | March 28, 2012

New TED Video About Not Fearing Failure

It’s a good day when I get to watch a new TED video. In this video Regina Dugan talks about her time at DARPA, the militaries research arm. They are responsible for many of the inventions we use in our everyday lives including the Internet. Her talk is lengthy but carries a great message for teachers.

A few great quotes:

“If you remove the fear of failure, the impossible becomes possible”. 

“Now I should be clear, I’m not encouraging failure, I’m discouraging fear of failure, because it’s not failure itself that constrains us. The path to truly new, never been done before things,  always has failure along the way.” 

Truly a great video.

One of the defining characteristics of the next way to learn will be that failure is not only accepted, but dealing with it is built into the system.




  1. “If you remove the fear of failure, the impossible becomes possible”.

    Wise indeed. It goes along with what we were reading a few days ago about having assignments that aren’t graded, where students can try and fail without it having consequences. In my pedagogy classes we learned that learning goes up if you can separate the pressure of assessment from performance.

    But here’s the rub: With college terms shrinking – where I teach the “semesters” have dropped to eight weeks and at some schools it’s down to four or five – but we teachers wanting to have something like the rigor and coverage of the old four-month (sixteen-week) model in place, how do I do that? There is hardly time for the graded assignment. And if I say “This won’t be graded, but it is good practice for the final assignment” then only half the class will do and only half of them would invest any real effort. It can work for in-class assignments, but online or as homework, I would be interested in creative ways to really do this.

    But I’ll confess I’m doing this comment much as some of my students do their discussion contributions – shooting off my mouth before I’ve read, or in this case watched, the assigned material. Perhaps the speaker has some answers…

    • Well a lot of the problem is that when the students get to you, they have already figured out that school isn’t about learning, it’s about grades. It’s a culture thing that will have to change from a young age.

      Your last paragraph had me laughing!

      Thanks for commenting!!

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