Learn from your students and don’t be afraid to fail

“I prefer the term ‘learning’ to ‘teaching’,” teacher and education advisor Pilar Cuello likes to say.

As both a teacher and a life-long learner, Cuello has translated her love for learning to innovation in the classroom. Working with colleagues in Spain and The Netherlands, she created “Learning Across Borders,” using web conferencing technology to give her students a cross-cultural classroom experience.

“Many teachers aren’t confident with technology,” Cuello added. “And they’re afraid of losing credibility with their students – all of whom are comfortable with this technology in every part of their lives.”

Cuello believes that teachers have to be willing to fail (a recurring theme in my conversations with educators). The process of learning, after all, depends on failure. We learn from our mistakes, using those mistakes to get to a better result.  So what advice does Cuello have for teachers working to overcome this fear of failure?

“Follow your instincts. This will lead to some great successes and to a few failures. But in the process, you will grow. And whenever you face a problem, you will have 20 or 30 ‘experts’ in front of you ready to help: your students.”

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2 Responses to Learn from your students and don’t be afraid to fail

  1. Jason says:

    It’s good to hear someone say that teachers should feel happy to fail. Failure is such an important part of the cyclical process of learning and it is good to model a more appropriate way of dealing with it than embarrassment, shame and refusal to go on!

    • Pilar Cuello says:

      Thanks, Jason! Yes, failing is an important part in the learning process. And we should show our students to fail and to be ready to face failure through our own attitude. We all must be ready and prepare to be wrong, that way we can be ready to innovate and to be creative.

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