Accepting failure and confident children

Children can feel more confident in themselves and perform better in the classroom when they are informed it is ok to fail, with such an outcome being accepted as a normal part of learning. This is according to a new study published by the American Psychological Association in its Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, which found this approach may be more beneficial than pressuring youngsters to succeed at all costs.

Investigators from the University of Poitiers in France noted pupils who are scared to fail are often afraid to make difficult moves in order to get to grips with new material.

Frederique Autin, a Postdoctoral Researcher at the learning institute, said: "Acknowledging that difficulty is a crucial part of learning could stop a vicious circle in which difficulty creates feelings of incompetence that in turn disrupts learning."

Jean-Claude Croizet, a Psychology Professor at the facility, noted parents and teachers can therefore play an important role in a child's success by simply altering the manner in which the materials are presented.

Chartered Psychologist Professor Sue Hallam from the Institute of Education, University of London, commented: "Learning often requires risk taking. When people are afraid of failure they will often adopt avoidance strategies so that they avoid the risk of failure.

"Any strategies that teachers can adopt which make it permissible to fail are therefore likely to encourage students to engage with learning. Without engagement, learning cannot take place.

"This research has demonstrated the importance of being allowed to make mistakes in relation to motivation and confidence."