Search for eResources by keyword
Learning to Fail: Part 1
We need to learn to fail, in order to learn to succeed.

“The first prerequisite of  being a good teacher is not that you should be good at teaching; the first prerequisite is you must be good at learning.” We can all take a page from the proverbial book of Saif Sarwari; we must indeed be good learners to be good teachers. One of the key aspects of being a good learner is questioning everything… including ourselves and our own (often very set) ways of thinking and executing, of understanding and expressing. We need to ask ourselves what exactly is required when we need to learn and relearn in order to thoroughly evaluate and explain our thought processes. We need to figure out where we can improve and where we are still lacking. Critical reflection on our own teaching and learning is essential. We need to learn to fail, in order to learn to succeed.


Through the course of the last few years, I have developed an approach to teaching and learning - the RIDE model - that enables teachers to engage with content, processes, tasks, strategies, and overall thinking processes on a much deeper level. It helps us dig a little deeper into our own psyche, our own experiences, and paradigms, encouraging us to truly engage with that which we wish to convey and the way we approach the curriculum, our learners, our colleagues, and overall outcomes. 

Education must always evolve and look to the future.

Every aspect of the RIDE approach (Potgieter, 2021) is aimed at active participation and engagement. Each element is designed to shift back to whichever part of the process is needed to clarify, explain or re-evaluate work. I apply this approach both to my own teaching and when designing tasks for my learners. It makes sense for people like me, who have so many thoughts competing for the same attention, to have a structure, a recipe of sorts, to approach intricate projects where we work with other people. If I can pinpoint where I am in this process, it makes it so much easier to go back and identify where I can improve. 

The RIDE model empowers teachers and learners alike to engage so much more critically with content and tasks. My upcoming blog series of posts will focus on deconstructing each section of the RIDE model, explaining how each facet is linked with the rest, and how progression through and engagement with this model can help improve the quality of material, diversity of approaches, the efficacy of tasks, and relevance of assessments. I am a firm believer that the quality of the learning experience that teachers engage in, is directly reflected in the quality of the work they do and the contribution that they are able to make to the holistic development of their learners and peers.

Many of us are comfortable engaging with that which is familiar and comfortable. We have become so used to repeating and regurgitating what we have learned, that there is no room for reflection… no room for failure. We must allow ourselves to delve into our thought processes, the way we structure our work, our tasks, our assessments and our own learning; we need to allow ourselves to fail in order to learn. The RIDE approach offers us a unique opportunity to turn our failures into teachable moments, into opportunities, rather than setbacks. Once we are comfortable with failure, we are in a perfect position to engage with the processes that brought about failure, so that we may improve (or dare I say perfect?) what we do. 


This is part one in a blog series about the RIDE approach. I look forward to sharing some more insights into this approach in the coming weeks. 


Nikki Potgieter 

Photo 1: Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash
Photo 2: RIDE Model by Nikki Potgieter