Martin Leigh

Rethinking failure as a key part of learning

AudiobookListen

Teachers try to pitch content just beyond a student’s ability, as research suggests that a little failure is good for learning. But what happens when your lessons are far beyond a pupil’s capability? You get a whole new insight into teaching and learning, says Martin Leigh

Rethinking failure as a key part of learning

It all started with a study in the journal Nature Communications. It suggested that teachers were right all along.

Our professional instinct is that pupils succeed best when we teach at a level that is just one step beyond the knowledge with which they are comfortable. Ideally, we want the work we set to be a little difficult, engagingly hard, but not impossibly so. A little failure should be expected.

Scientists at the University of Arizona took that instinct and tested it. By studying machine learning, a type of artificial intelligence that improves through experience – which, for all ...

Subscribe to continue reading

Get full access to our magazine to keep up-to-date with the latest education research, insight and analysis – including audio articles and back issues

Other articles in this issue