To learn quickly requires frequent testing, giving a regular feedback loop on learning progress.

With tests come success (indicating items learned) and failure (indicating items yet to be fully learned).

The student encountering failure will build resilience, meaning the ability to persevere through hiccups and challenges.

A student who meets with failure also needs encouragement to build a ‘growth mindset’, which is an attitude that treats deliberate practice as the means to improvement (as opposed to a ‘fixed mindset’, which is an attitude that overplays the role of our innate traits for our successes or failures).

Being comfortable with failure is not about not working hard or not being serious – but instead, it is about recognition of the importance of failure to the learning process.

At the same time, too much failure can lead to a significant loss of motivation, and may lead to a student quitting altogether.

What’s important is non-existential failure – enough to learn and progress, but not enough to make us quit – a little like the way our bodies develop immunities against viruses.

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