Failing Forward – The Best Way To Learn Is To Make Mistakes

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“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” -Thomas Edison

Have you had an experience where you learned more from a mistake than you ever did from doing things right the first time?

Most people think of failure as the end, but it can also be instructive. Failure can help us grow, develop stronger coping skills and become more resilient.

Students of Kingsley taking part in Extracurricular activities

When you want to learn how to play soccer, tennis or any other sport, people understand that it is challenging. You will struggle, fall, win sometimes and lose other times.

But does the same thinking apply when we solve math problems or work our way through a challenging equation?

It is time that we reframe our notion of failure. Our impulse to jump in and help when a student faces a problem is strong—but we need to remember that our best intentions don’t always support learning.

What is productive failure?

A project conducted by a teacher, blogger and speaker Amber Chandler is an excellent example of how the freedom to fail creates a positive learning environment.

The goal of the project was to help students feel more comfortable taking academic risks to overcome the fear of failure. According to Chandler, “With the freedom to fail, they were also free to seek out learning experiences instead of falling back on what they already knew.” And then “The best possible outcome happened: one of my high achievers failed miserably with one of her tasks.”

“She had researched animators, found the one she wanted to interview, and tried contacting him a few ways, to no avail. And then, she did the most amazing thing: she learned from it and shared it with us in her presentation.”

That is how productive failure looks!

In a learning environment that allows students the freedom to make mistakes, problems are designed in a way to challenge students to reach beyond their grasp, encouraging them to stretch their knowledge and try new strategies.

That is how deep learning takes place.

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But does that mean failure alone is instructive?

According to learning scientist Manu Kapur, “Failure helps in building awareness and learning affect—the desire to learn—but in and of itself, it cannot get you to assemble knowledge… A teacher or expert is needed at that point to explain the problem and solution.”

Hence, it is important to design learning experiences that encourage students to embrace failure as a part of achieving their goals.

How does Maple Leaf Kingsley International School create a positive learning environment?

We are living in a world which places high emphasis on grades, achievements and results. But at Maple Leaf Kingsley International School, we believe that the focus needs to shift to the process; allowing students to learn from their mistakes, recognise the small victories and become resilient in the face of failure.

Students who have been placed in situations where they can fail forward as part of their school experience have a unique advantage over others. They understand that failure is central to learning. Hence, they are more likely to try new things and develop the agility that our fast-paced world requires. As a result, they will be leaders grounded in confidence.

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Hence, we create a positive learning environment where

students can feel free to learn, grow, innovate, and express themselves without the fear of making mistakes.

Maple Leaf Kingsley is not just a school but an institution that instils,

invests and imparts values that empower life achievers.

We encourage our students to take risks by exploring

various opportunities that challenge them to develop independent thinking and problem-solving skills.

We invest in our students by offering stimulating and challenging enrichment activities; from Taekwondo and Young Engineers to Table and Robotics; our clubs and societies provide our students with a platform that puts their capabilities to test. It enables them to be confident, exploring their potential and place in this world.

We are staunch believers in stimulating the mind, body and spirit of students. By allowing our students to explore their interests and nurture their passions, we help them to have a wholesome and happy experience at school.

We are the only school in Malaysia to offer Horse Riding as a part of the extracurricular and after-school activities. The hiking trail of Kingsley Hill has seen many footprints

walk up its majestic path, with extra safety and security features installed by the school as it’s quite a popular activity. Students will often visit, accompanied by wardens or teachers, to ensure safety.

In addition to this, our students learn the value of teamwork,

sportsmanship and determination through regular sporting activities and inter-house games.

Our vision is to mould students that can compete among the best. By combining a visionary curriculum, state-of-the-art facilities and an expansive environment to learn in, we are able to cultivate a supporting atmosphere for students, teachers and parents to flourish.


Fondly known as Kingsley – we are a homegrown international school established in 2011. We have garnered recognition from Malaysians and Expatriate parents

through our devotion to moulding the next generation through an exceptional and quality British curriculum. Click here to know more about us.

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