Teaching Success through Failure
David Rosner, Metropolitan College of New York (United States)
Tilokie Depoo, Metropolitan College of New York (United States)
Davinder Kaur, SUNY Stonybrook (United States)
Success involves learning from failure. This presentation will highlight the role of failure in preparing students for success by analyzing the “Constructive Action” education model at Metropolitan College of New York School for Business. This process involves students undertaking specific initiatives in the workplace to improve it. In the Constructive Action, a specific problem is defined, a plan of action is devised to solve the problem and then the success or failure of that strategy is analyzed. This last part documents what the student learned by the failure of plan A. If plan A has failed, the student would then propose plan B and so on. "Learning from failure" is thus intrinsic to this exercise.
Many students worry if their plans should fail. They ask repeatedly if this will result in a bad grade. The answer is "no - if they offer insight into the failure, what they have learned as a result this failure, and then try to solve the problem again.
At this point, data presented will help shed light on students’ experience with the Constructive Action model used at MCNY. In our own teaching experience in a business school, we have seen examples in which students have learned from failure. For example, upon exploration of certain business concepts and also undergoing internships in a particular industry, a student may realize that he/she is not really interested in, or doesn't have the right personality for it. Some students might realize, after mathematical calculations and industry observations, that their business idea may not ultimately be viable. These realizations don't really constitute failure - they might even constitute success, because it is better for the student to learn earlier what they don't want to do and why, then to embark upon a large venture that will ultimately be wrong for them. We will examine other examples as well. What did these failures teach the student about the world of business, human nature, human relationships, etc.? How do these sorts of experiences and insights eventually lead to more successful ways of conducting business, improving workplaces, developing the right attitudes, etc?