failure reports

Failure reports: digging deeper and relating wider

workshop hosted by Vanessa Andreotti

“Ever tried, ever failed, no matter, try again, fail again, fail better” Samuel Beckett

Group responses

1. How do we plan for failure? How do we report failure?

Failure as normal, need for contingency plans, learning to report both success and failure

2. What are the challenges in our relationship with failure?

We don’t always recognize failure, privilege prevents us from seeing what we can’t see (foreclosures), difficulty of accepting failure, not having honest feedback, negative reaction to failure, need for quick exit from discomfort, we don’t have a culture that celebrates failure, self blame

3. What happens when we are not afraid to fail?

e.g. more learning, no regrets, you feel better, becoming an outlier, inspiring others, motivated and motivating others, failing more and better, may lead you not to aim high enough, advising others about lessons from mistakes

4. How can we develop the stamina, resilience and sobriety to be comfortable with the discomfort of learning from failure? How can we foster organizations that are not failure averse?

Example of Engineers without borders “Failure reports” : e.g. https://www.ewb.org.au/ourimpact/failure  […what else?]

5. What are common failures in GCE, ESD and Education for Human Rights?Translation of materials not working, resources coming from global North, therefore problematic, leading to perception that solutions should come from the north, problem starts early on with education focusing only on the head, locating GCE into power in the global north, failure to bring in the action aspect (contentious topic), fear of solutionism and tokenism leading people away from action

6. What are common pedagogical constraints in the context of GCE, ESD, and Education for Human Rights?

need for educators to explore our own perspective and assumption first (self-reflexivity), need for broadening the mind to recognize new realities, huge pressure for teachers to know everything, how that is changing now in relation to participation, fear that learners will find the answers/securities/certainties somewhere else, participatory education: how do we tell people it is not about one’s opinion, but substantiated information, it is about informed choice.

 

WORKSHOP INVITATION

1. What happens when we don’t learn from failure?

e.g. we make the same mistakes over and over again, we waste time/resources, we become risk-averse, a gap emerges between the story told and the reality on the ground creating tensions, frustrations and insecurities, our Pandora box gets bigger (difficult issues not being addressed causing relationships to fall apart), we convince ourselves we already have the right answers, we look only for positive feedback, we look for improving what we are comfortable with rather than trying something completely different, we externalize blame and responsibility, we end up in echo-chambers, we continue to want the same things … [what else?]

2. Why is it difficult to learn from failure? Why is it difficult to report failure?

for organizations: funding environment requiring positive evaluations to secure financial sustainability (too much at stake); organizational focus on success, predefined outcomes, expectations for fast impact/up-scaling, uncomplicated success stories, making failure visible is not an option (you have to hide it to protect yourself and/or the organization)

for individuals: failure-fragility, self-worth associated with success, achievement and impact (we are socialized to be ashamed and afraid of failure); general job insecurity and precarity in the sector

[… what else?]

3. What happens when we are not afraid to fail?

e.g. experimentation, risk taking, learning, flexibility, response-ability, “digging deeper and relating wider”, more creativity, … [what else?]

4. How can we develop the stamina, resilience and sobriety to be comfortable with the discomfort of learning from failure? How can we foster organizations that are not failure averse?

Example of Engineers without borders “Failure reports” : e.g. https://www.ewb.org.au/ourimpact/failure  […what else?]

5. What are common failures in GCE, ESD and Education for Human Rights?
(e.g. in terms of theories of change, approach, message, medium, messenger, pitch, audience, realistic expectations, etc.)

V: simplistic explanations of global problems and solutions, paternalistic engagements between dominant and marginalized populations, and ethnocentric and anthropocentric ideals of justice, responsibility, and change. General lack of nuance, under-estimation of problems, over-statement of solutions.

Treating symptoms as causes, “the opposite is the solution”,

[…what else?]

6. What are common pedagogical constraints in the context of GCE, ESD, and Education for Human Rights?

V: expectations for quick fixes/easy solutions that can sustain hope (for continuity/ futurity); expectations that activities will lead to actions that can make participants “feel good, look good and do good”; aversion to discomfort and to learning about one’s complicity in harm; from the “sage on the stage” to the “cacophony of personal opinions” where everyone’s voice is equally valid  (both ineffective in addressing systemic issues); popular investments in solutionism, salvationism and hero-preneurship. De-professionalisation: idea in the field that anyone is qualified to do global education (good intentions are enough, no explicit commitment to depth, complexity and “field” sustainability).

[…what else?]