Teaching Assistants' Training Program

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

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Failure and Resilience in the Classroom: A Roundtable Discussion

Thursday, March 2, 2017 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm EST


Thursday, March 2, 2017
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm EST
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Blackburn Room, 4th Floor Robarts Library – ELECTIVE

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Joel Rodgers, TATP Humanities Trainer
David Chan, TATP Sciences Coordinator
Alli Diskin, TATP Program Assistant

There seems to be a wide-spread impression that undergraduate students are now “less resilient” than previous generations.[1] Failure has even become a “hot topic” for research, as the development of The Success-Failure Project at Harvard and The Stanford Resilience Project suggest. Learning from setbacks and failures in the classroom can be as difficult for teachers as it is for students. It’s hard to admit and reflect on failure in high-pressure environments (e.g. grad school). The recent trend of sharing scholarly “shadow” CVs (which list academic failures) is a prime example of how failure tends to be hidden for the sake of appearing successful at all times. Given the seemingly high-stakes of admitting failures, how do we help our students handle failure even as we grapple with failure ourselves? In this roundtable, we will survey some of the existing research on failure and resilence (including “academic buoyancy”) so that we might discuss how to fail “better” as both teachers and students.

[1] See, for example, Peter Gray’s 2015 Psychology Today blog post, “Declining Student Resilience: A Serious Problem for Colleges” (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201509/declining-student-resilience-serious-problem-colleges).



Joel Rodgers
David Chan
Alli Diskin


Blackburn Room