I recently watched the TED Talk “What Doctors Don’t Know about the Drugs They Prescribe” given by Ben Goldacre. Goldrace speaks about how medical journals publish the studies that give positive results on the use of a medication, but previously never published the results of studies that found medications to be ineffective or even harmful. His premise is that if the failed studies were published, they could save time on future studies and most importantly; save lives.
As I listened to his TED Talk, I made the connection to the education profession. I read hundreds of blog posts/professional journal articles each month and a couple of professional books a month and love what I learn from them. However, when I reflected on what I’ve read and what Goldacre is saying, I can’t say that I’ve read much on peoples’ failure in education to help us learn from their mistakes. Why is this? I read the book Mindset last year (and have blogged about it a couple of times) after the hype on this book from people in my Twitter PLN and have read numerous other blog posts talking about having a growth mindset and learning from failure, but can’t think of any failures I’ve read about. (I do realize “failure” probably isn’t the correct term to use, but will continue for this post with it meaning something that could have gone better…not that someone died or something was done illegally.)
As we blog about our professional lives and reflect on our experiences to grow from we do run the risk of breaking confidentiality or opening up too much in our blog posts. Is that why I haven’t read any posts on peoples’ failures? I can think of numerous failures I have had in situations with staff or parents that I could not blog about for this reason, however, I certainly did reflect on them to grow from. But then I think about the mistakes other administrators have probably made that I could grow from too and learn mistakes to never make myself.
How can we reflect publicly on our failures to grow ourselves, while helping others learn from our mistakes, yet not get ourselves into trouble?