If you follow me on Twitter, you know I’ve been thinking about dropping out of graduate school.
I’ve hesitated about talking about it here for many reasons, including but not limited to: the irony of an education activist talking about the irrelevance of my education, the potential for the institution to take my remarks the wrong way, and embarrassment for getting into this situation.
And then I stumbled upon this article about failure by famed education pundit Alfie Kohn. This really struck a chord with me:
Challenge — which carries with it a risk of failure — is a part of learning. That’s not something we’d want to eliminate. But when students who are tripped up by challenges respond by tuning out, acting out, or dropping out, they sometimes do so not because of a deficiency in their makeup (lack of stick-to-itiveness) but because those challenges — what they were asked to do — aren’t particularly engaging or relevant.
While I disagree about his conclusions and some points in particular (like denying the ability to give zeros, based on my personal teaching experience), I think he’s indirectly said something really important about failure and learning.