Learning to allow temporary failure: potential benefits, supportive practices and teacher concerns

Orit Alfi, Avi Assor, Idit Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Current theory and research in the area of motivation indicate that while frequent academic failures are clearly undesirable, temporary failure in challenging academic tasks can have important psychological benefits when followed by successful coping. However, teachers' responses during our school reform programme suggest that some special education teachers may find it extremely difficult to allow their pupils to experience any kind of failure or frustration, not even temporarily. An analysis of the cognitive and emotional reasons for this phenomenon is presented, followed by a summary of the potential benefits of temporary failure. Then, drawing on Self-Determination Theory (SDT, Ryan & Deci, 2000 ), teaching practices that enable pupils to cope well with temporary failure are briefly described. The last section presents the way these SDT motivational principles have been used to promote the internalisation of a more positive attitude towards temporary failure by teachers, and to suggest various implications for the area of teacher education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-41
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Education for Teaching
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2004


  • Student Motivation
  • Special Education Teachers
  • Teacher Attitudes
  • Academic Failure
  • School Restructuring
  • Coping
  • Teaching Methods
  • Emotional Response
  • Special Education
  • Teacher Education


Dive into the research topics of 'Learning to allow temporary failure: potential benefits, supportive practices and teacher concerns'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this