The one thing I learnt from my school education was that failure was bad. If I wanted to succeed in life I needed to get the best grades and if I got the answers wrong it would harm my future. I became good at passing tests but retained no real knowledge or passion for most subjects. I was always afraid to put my hand up and answer a question in front of the class in case I was incorrect and looked stupid in front of my classmates. This fear of getting it wrong has never gone away. I have talents on which I can build a happy existence, but I have been afraid to pursue them in case I fail.
Failure however, is great. In fact, it's vital. I know that now, but knowing better does not automatically change your habits. I have had to work hard at breaking down the fear barrier in order to do the things that make me happy like performing, exercising, socialising and learning.
I believe passionately that the education system needs to change radically. I believe that each child's innate talents and interests need to be nurtured. I think that we need to ignite intrigue and teach how to learn AND FAIL, rather than regurgitate facts. I do not know how this would best be achieved, but I have been listening to those that have an idea. TED is full of talks on education, as are the free online university course sites that we are so lucky to have. For me they are a safe way to dip my toe into new subjects without pressure, deadlines or classroom comparison.
I have just begun a course entitled What Future For Education? from the University of London & UCL Institute of Education. This blog post on my opinions of education is the first of its tasks. If I complete the course, I will in the next few months have made a TED style talk about my personalised, CBT influenced, sticker chart system. This child-like system has helped me engage more with life but I have thus far been too afraid to blog about it because I have wanted so much for it to be perfect. With the help of modern learning, behavioural therapies and a reminder that failure is no bad thing, I have finally started working towards this goal.
I look forward to finishing this course and finally articulating how I have managed to coax myself into new habits by breaking down years of conditioning and embracing failure.