A Melbourne school has encouraged its students to embrace failure to help teach them to learn from their mistakes. Something we can all learn from!

Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar School has developed “failure week”, which involves projecting the mistakes of teachers onto screens in every classroom, reports ABC news.

The school’s head of counselling, Dr Bridget McPherson, said it was vital for students to recognise that failure was an important part of learning.

“It’s actually impossible to learn and learn well if you don’t make mistakes and you don’t reassess your strategy and you don’t experience things going wrong,” she said.

“Focussing everything on perfection and achievement doesn’t get you very far at all in terms of learning, so it’s crucial for that.”

Dr McPherson said teachers were initially wary of the idea of celebrating their failures, but had since got on board.

“There was a little bit of anxiety when we first talked about it, the word failure itself has a huge stigma to it, I think even naming the week failure week people found a little bit strange,” she said.

Dr McPherson said she would be sharing her own story about when she crashed a car during her first driving lesson.

“Mine is actually about a pretty major car accident on my first ever driving lesson where I managed to mount the curb and drive into an antique wall of my neighbour’s. It was pretty spectacular,” she said.

Parents were not pre-warned about the idea, but she said she hoped that it would spread to conversations in the home.

“I would really strongly encourage parents to talk about their failures. It seems like something that parents don’t do, I think more just through lack of thinking about it,” she said.

“But it’s amazingly powerful for young people to hear that their parents have had small failures, and bigger ones, over the course of their lives.”

Mum’s also need to take note

PANDA shared the story saying we could all learn something from this idea.

“How many of us have felt like a failure as a new mum?

“At PANDA we were encouraged to see this program building resilience in young women by helping them deal with ‘failure’.

As a new mum, the enormous daily challenges can add up to a feeling of personal failure. Let’s all take a moment to remind ourselves it’s ok to mess up some times. It’s a tough job being a mum.”

It is OK to make mistakes! Something as parents we all need to remember and encourage our kids to do as well.

Share your comments below

  • Great initiative. From someone who grew up with and currently has a fear of failure, to understand how to use failures as opportunities to learn and grow would take a lot of weight off shoulders.


  • I couldn’t agree more – they help us learn, mistakes are inevitable.


  • Everyone makes mistakes and should own up to them. So long as part of the lesson is to strive to do better, I am happy with this.


  • it’s a very important lesson to learn given that schools always encourage kids to strive to be better!. I would highly encourage this in all schools across Australia.


  • Important lesson indeed is that failure’s and mistakes are part of life, no one is perfect. We as parents should incorporate that in our daily life and also give the example in admitting that we’re sometimes wrong and saying sorry for that.


  • my brother in law told my son before his first driving lesson “remember you are fallible” you are going to make mistakes but we learn from them and don’t do it again


  • this definately is a great life lesson to teach your kids regardless. It will help them to build their character and make them a stronger and more resillient person. No person on this earth is perfect and we have all made mistakes so this is a humbling thing for a child to realise


  • Schools shouldn’t have to have special weeks to address this subject. Good parents are teaching their kids to accept and acknowledge mistakes and to learn from them from a very early age. Far better kids learn early how to deal with mistakes and failure instead of being wrapped in cotton wool and shielded from the realities, hardships and disappointments of life.


  • One of my Mum’s favourite sayings is “you learn by your mistakes especially they are accidental ones”


  • If we don’t make mistakes, we are never gonna improve. I love the idea that school had!!

    • I agree – mistakes give the opportunity to reflect and improve – such a valuable learning tool.


  • Totally agree with this – mistakes and failures is part of life. Kids need to learn and experience it too and to realise it’s not the end of the world when you fail or make a mistake. Learning early to deal with these feelings and situations will set them up to be well rounded adults. In fact this should start much earlier than yr 11 or 12.
    I certainly have made plent of mistakes, I’ve failed and felt like a failure too many times to count. It’s about experiencing these things, dealing and learning from each experience. And knowing that everyone stuffs up and everyone at some point will feel like a failure – it’s not the end of the world and things get better.


  • Indeed, this is a good idea.


  • We actually learn from our mistakes which l love!


  • It’s how you deal with mistakes that really matters.


  • This shouldn’t be a dedicated week. This should be something they are taught no matter when they fail. All the time.


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