Students learn lessons from failure

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 November, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 26 November, 2001, 12:00am

I disagree with your correspondent C. Collins ('Exam-crazy education system must be totally overhauled', South China Morning Post, November 17), about not giving failure grades to primary students.

There is a well-known Chinese saying, 'Failure is the mother of success.'

Real life is filled with failures and it is important for people from a young age, to experience failures and to learn from them. The issue is not whether teachers should give failure grades, but whether they have made a sufficient effort to identify why a student failed. By doing so, a teacher can take appropriate measures to help the student.

It is important for a teacher to provide encouragement to the pupil and try and lead students towards creative ways of learning.

Principals should introduce what I would call 'supportive learning' in their schools.

Under this system teachers, students and families would work together to help students with a failure grade recover and eventually achieve success. This would certainly create a new learning atmosphere, relieving the pressure students and parents feel at present. Young people who grow up in this learning environment will be more likely to help other students who are struggling with their studies.


Southfield, Michigan, US

I agree with C. Collins (Post, November 17) that the education system must be overhauled.

We need to create an education system where effort and success are considered the same. Success cannot be achieved without effort, and recognition should be given to a child who tries hard.

Children should be taught not to fear failure. As scientists well know failure is a pointer to success.

I believe there needs to be a balance struck between the teaching of basic core subjects and social skills. There must be greater emphasis placed on acquiring social skills, such as sharing, caring, and learning about the importance of working together.

The values we teach our children today will be the same values they will adopt when their generation becomes part of the working population.