Success and Progress are Not Synonymous!

Progress exists when hard work is exhibited.  This is a notion that many feel sums up school and education as a whole.  When we encounter students working hard, we assume that they are making progress.  There are many factors that are not considered in this equation.  Progress is not merely experienced by doing, it is experienced by making mistakes when doing. 

When you learn a new concept and you practice it, you achieve the desired goal, familiarity.  Although familiarity is comforting as a student, it doesn’t create a space for learning more.  It enhances a sense of security in knowing that you are content with maintaining.  If you begin to step outside of your comfort zone and try new experiences, make mistakes and keep trying, you will eventually make progress.  I didn’t say you will eventually succeed.  Many educators equate success and progress.  They are not synonymous and cannot be considered as such. 

Success is the act of getting it right, but progress is the act of getting better.   Our students may not succeed in every endeavor that they accomplish, but their ability to continue working at it relies on our consistent encouragement and reassurance that their mistakes will create opportunities for more progress. 

When we teach our students that they will succeed always, we teach them that their failures are fatal flaws.  This is simply not true.  Our students must be encouraged to continue trying.  This attitude fosters an atmosphere of continued progress and inspires the ability to learn in a “risk” free environment.  

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