“I’m going to fail”: How youth interpret failure across contextual boundaries

Date: 
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Resource Type:
Conference Proceedings | Reference Materials
Environment Type: 
Public Programs, Summer and Extended Camps, Making and Tinkering Programs, Museum and Science Center Programs, Informal/Formal Connections, K-12 Programs
Audience: 
Elementary School Children (6-10) | Middle School Children (11-13) | Youth/Teen (up to 17) | Educators/Teachers | Museum/ISE Professionals | Learning Researchers
Discipline: 
Art, music, and theater | Education and learning science | Engineering | General STEM | Technology
Organization:
Binghamton University, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Indiana University, Science Museum of Minnesota
Description: 

This Conference Paper was presented at the International Soceity for the Learning Sciences Confernece in June 2018. We summarize interviews with youth ages 9-15 about their failure mindsets, and if those midsets cross boundaries between learning environments. 

Previous research on youth’s perceptions and reactions to failure established a view of failure as a negative, debilitating experience for youth, yet STEM and in particular making programs increasingly promote a pedagogy of failures as productive learning experiences. Looking to unpack perceptions of failure across contexts and potential differences between selfidentified sexes, youth who participated in making activities were interviewed about their experiences with failure and thoughts about the term. Youth’s perceptions of failure fell into four categories: failure as enhancing, failure as debilitating, failure as mosaic, and failure as fluid. For the majority of youth (70%), their perception of failure transcended situational boundaries and was not entirely negative as previous research suggested. These results have implications on design of learning contexts and complicate prevailing understandings of youths’ failure experiences. 

Funder(s): 
NSF
Funding Program: 
IUSE
Award Number: 
1623447
Funder(s): 
NSF
Funding Program: 
IUSE
Award Number: 
1623452
Publication Name: 
Proceedings of the International Society of the Learning Sciences

Team Members

Adam MalteseAdam MalteseAuthor
Megan GoekeAuthor

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