Thank you for the thoughtful response. You are correct here, but taking my premise in a different direction than the one I was aiming. It’s a good direction, to be sure, and adds a level of depth and complexity to my somewhat simplified thesis.

There’s an interesting distinction between the anticipation of failure and the actual experience of it. My concern is that the experience of failure benefits very few people, but the way we often talk about failure ignores that truth. In fact, surviving the experience of failure is itself less related to some kind of earned lesson as it is an already established set of conditions explicitly designed to mitigate the suffering. (Such as saved wealth, emergency response systems, infrastructure, education, and so on. A wealthy country is far more likely to recover from a disaster than a poor one, even one they have never actually experienced, yet it’s the poor one that usually endures far more ‘failure’ in any disaster than a wealthy one.)

I follow Taleb on Medium and have read Black Swan, but it seems to me his thesis is less about the educational benefits of failure as it is the guarantee of failure when accountability is removed. It’s an interesting distinction. Students are held accountable to their failures, aggressively, but do they actually learn from that? Administrators and others are not held accountable and little changes, but is this supposed to be a learning experience for them?

just another frustrated teacher

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store