Teaching Assistants' Training Program

Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation, 130 St. George Street, Robarts Library, 4th floor

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Personal and Pedagogical Value of Failure

Tuesday, January 25, 2022 @ 9:00 am - 11:00 am EST


Tuesday, January 25, 2022
9:00 am - 11:00 am EST


What does it mean to fail? Failure in teaching/academia can take many forms. Perhaps you spent hours planning an activity for your last tutorial, only to find a lack of interest and absolute silence when you tried to engage the class. Maybe you did poorly on a recent teaching evaluation. As teaching assistants, we may be dealing with setbacks not only on a personal level, but also helping to support students who are dealing with academic and non-academic challenges. While the form that failure takes and the ways in which we experience it may differ, dealing with failure is common in academia. Unfortunately, academic culture is often characterized by competition and individualism, where experiences or recognition of failure are unwelcome. The purpose of this workshop is to challenge the culture of silence around failure by highlighting the personal and pedagogical value of both experiencing failure and discussing it with others. By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to 1) understand why failure is often not talked about in academia; 2) identify the personal and pedagogical value of failure; 3) begin to draft a personal CV of teaching/academic failures and reflect on the process; and 4) apply strategies for promoting compassion and supporting students who are dealing with failure.