No Laughing Matter

Why do we look at others that fail, and laugh at them? What in our society is encouraging this behavior? Is it our responsibility as teachers to teach students not to laugh at failure? We laugh at ourselves when we fail in front of a group of people because we’re nervous. Should we be this way?

This first video shows someone that fails at the first question on Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Why is this video posted on YouTube.

I feel it was shared because we can’t believe that someone could miss such an easy question. However, how many people out there really don’t know this answer? Yes, he did realize he was wrong as soon as he said, “Final answer”. Students make simple mistakes in the classroom. We as teachers need to make sure we don’t laugh, nor allow laughter. This student is still learning and didn’t know this one question. Allowing students to talk with a neighbor about answers before answering out-loud could help stop failing answers. If he had 10 seconds to discuss this with a neighbor, he would not have been as likely to miss it.

Here’s another video.

In this video we have a lady in the United Kingdom say the title of a movie incorrectly. Well, has she seen The Green Mile? If she hasn’t, then that may be one reason why she missed the puzzle. Does she watch Tom Hanks movies? There are so many factors that we have to take into consideration before we can laugh at her. Now, if she had just watched the movie the night before taping the show, then we can laugh. However, laughing at someone else’s failure is never the answer.

Now, this following video does have a little humor to the failure.

First, these two contestants must have been tied after spinning the wheel, which means they now have a spin-off to see who will go to the showcase showdown. The first contestant spins and lands on $.10. So the second guy has 18 spots of the 20 on the wheel that he could land on to win. However, he lands on the ONE spot that is less than $.10. The wheel is random and the guy took his chances. This video has a little humor, but we are not laughing at the guy, we’re laughing at the chances of someone possibly landing on that space.

Teachers should be setting students up for success. As I said before, allowing students to visit with a neighbor for a few seconds before stating the answer out-loud will help. Also, allowing students to “phone a friend” in the class for help. What if students were allowed to text a family outside of school for answer? Would that be helping students learn? Should the students know every single answer to every single question we ask? Do we as adults know all the answers?

Failure is not a laughing matter. We need to stop students from laughing at others. We need to be building a community of winners and successors in our classrooms. Start thinking today, “What could I do to help students succeed in my classroom?”

No one is perfect – that’s why pencils have erasers. – Author Unknown


About Anthony Purcell

I am Anthony Purcell and I am currently teaching math in Oklahoma.
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2 Responses to No Laughing Matter

  1. Amie Dunavin says:

    Excellent blog, Anthony! Do you share your blog page with parents of your students? If not, I think you should…. 🙂

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