Failing Forward at Hopkins

Go ahead and suspend your judgment for just a moment. What if we encouraged elementary students to fail? Would we produce a community of high school dropouts or a creative force of motivated young people? I enthusiastically cast my vote for the latter.

This is why students practice design thinking in the Hopkins technology makerspace. By using the design process to solve real-world problems, students learn that failure is inherent in the engineering process and that mistakes lead to design improvements. This iterative mindset, alongside the notion that passion and perseverance pay off, goes a long way in building self-belief — the X factor of success. But just how far does failing forward reach? I decided to take to take a quick tour to gauge Hopkins’ communal acceptance of mistakes. The featured image emblazoned above the lockers of Room 201 — Fail Big & Try Again — highlights Mr. Bernstein’s expectation. His class even has a special cheer to celebrate each other’s mistakes. Check out the rest of my anecdotal discovery.

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As you can see from this sampling, Hopkins School supports a culture of failing forward. Why? It’s simple. We are human. We make mistakes. Mistakes are springboards of learning and innovation. So remember, while failure on the report card may breed fear and anxiety, failure in the course of learning may breed more meaningful experiences and, ultimately, success. Please join me in endorsing the process of failure!

By: Steph Doty
 Technology Integration Coordinator
 Hopkins School
 @HopkinsTechLib / @BlendedTeaching
Cross-posted to

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