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Appreciation, Acceptance and Acknowledgement

Three powerful A’s that are often missing in today’s classroom

By Ika Yadin

When was the last time you appreciate failure as part of your journey? A faux pas that you accept as a fraction of life’s ups and downs? A moment when you acknowledge (without shame) that it was necessary for your personal growth? Well, if it took you a while to remember, then you might need to be reminded. 

Just recently, LEAP welcomed our 5th batch interns from one of the private vocational schools in Surabaya. Having done the first four batches, you can say that we’re fully armed this time. We perfected the curriculum based on the last experience that we had. We give them room to analyze the ground, set their own goals, discuss, fail, evaluate, re-plan, execute and so on. 

The Zero-Sense of Accomplishment

It was on the Tuesday morning of orientation meeting that I asked the kind of projects that they have done at school. They mentioned something in designing logo for the small business. Great! I was so eager to hear more as I was expecting an exhilarating discussion on that matter. 

I started to ask how they felt upon completing their projects. Did the business owners like the design? Did they feel proud of it? Was there any challenges that they find? Did they have fun and enjoy the process?   

There was nothing. They looked confused and clueless to my questions. There was no real challenge because it was just another assignment that they have to submit. There was no proudness nor the sense of belonging because they never get a chance to hear any feedback. They see no correlation whatsoever between their hard work and the impact that they make for the small business. 

Students owning the learning process through discussion, failure, and re-planning
Students owning the learning process through discussion, failure, and re-planning

The Growth Mindset

It’s a sad truth that the modern education these days has put a very high bar to reach in very limited time. Students and teachers are trapped in a loop of assignments, tests, re-tests, projects that goes on and on. No time for an adequate learning process that involves failing. Everything needs to be on track. There are certain objectives — certain numbers, hours and scores — that need to be fulfilled. Thus, sometimes we, as teachers, forget to teach to our students to value themselves and to have a growth mindset

Learning happens when there is a balance between challenge and perceived skill. Make them dream, fail, succeed, challenged, evaluate, repeat. Let them own the process. Only then, they can say “I have done my best for this and whatever become the outcomes”, they can feel appreciated, accepted and acknowledge. 

Only then, we will can see ourselves in the mirror and say yes this is my failure. I accept, appreciate and acknowledge it as part of me without any shame.  

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