The Role of Dialectical Tensions in Making Sense of Failures in Teaching and Learning
Keywords:failure, relational dialectics, dialogue, faculty development
How can our teaching failures be used to improve student learning? This question has been examined from various academic viewpoints - ranging from “productive failure” in education to “meaningful failure” in the biological sciences to “failing forward” in business management. The current article seeks to contribute to this growing body of scholarship by providing insights derived from Baxter & Montgomery’s theory of relational dialectics that inform how teaching failures can be used to improve student learning. Along with the goal of using dialectical tensions to re-construe perceived teaching failures, the overall objective of this article is to create a space for intentional and transformative dialogue about the meaning that can be derived from the failures in our professional lives - in order to better prepare our students to manage their own.