Why Do Teens Need Safe Spaces for Failure?

Posted by Templeton Academy

learning community, adolescent development

"I enjoy struggling with a hard question even if that means answering incorrectly. I now feel like I could hold my own in my discussions.” 9th-grade student

At Blyth-Templeton Academy we know the value of taking risks with learning. Our students are encouraged to set goals for themselves that require them to reach beyond their comfort levels. Often they fail. We don't see failure as a bad thing. On the contrary, we know that it is a certain and unavoidable part of learning.

When used constructively in a safe environment, failure can be a master teacher. Students need to have the opportunity to learn new skills by making mistakes and learning from those mistakes. As educators, we need to create safe environments that encourage students to set goals that stretch their abilities, and, at times risk failure. Momentary failure sets the conditions for reflective analysis and new strategies that open opportunities for success.

Students at BTA have a fail-safe space to take risks and experiment with their newly developed skills. How do we accomplish this?

Small Class Sizes

Our classes average 8 students who get to know each other and create a sense of community. Safety, for teens whose self-esteem and self-confidence might still be shaky, lies in fitting in and having a place to belong. Our classes are fail-safe places that give our students:

  • A safe community where they are not judged, but are respected and listened to actively;
  • A place  where they can be individuals without the pressure to conform; and
  • An education community where they can try, fail, try again and succeed knowing that their peers and teachers are there for them no matter what happens.

"BTA’s encouragement of freedom and self-sufficiency in a relaxed space has given me a strong sense of self while simultaneously exposing me to new people and perspective. My drama course vanquished my fear of public speaking." 12th-grade student

Experiential Learning

We are committed to the philosophy of "learning by doing." We use the resources of Washington DC as our classrooms, challenging out students to discover for themselves the connections between their classrooms and the real world. Our students venture out in the community, away from the comfort of the classroom, for new experiences that help them become confident and independent learners.

"I never really had gone places on my own and taken the metro by myself. But now, I go to just explore without a great reason." 11th-grade student

At BTA we create safe environments that encourage students to set goals that stretch their abilities, and, at times risk failure. We know that momentary failure sets the conditions for reflective analysis and new strategies that open opportunities for success. Our students take healthy risks when exploring their aspirations and, as a result, reach for higher goals. Their success is celebrated by all of us.

Free Download:  What Do Teens Need for Their Unimaginable Future World?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Templeton Academy

Temp Keller
Templeton Academy is an experiential micro school with locations on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. and in Nashville, TN. It offers an academically rigorous curriculum designed to foster intellectual curiosity through active learning and community exploration. The small class sizes ensure that each student has a front row seat in classes with an average size of 10. Our model combines a warm, inviting atmosphere with great teaching that allows our students to flourish. Schedule a visit soon.

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