Productive framing of pedagogical failure: How teacher framings can facilitate or impede learning from problems of practice

Dana Vedder-Weiss, Nadav Ehrenfeld, Michal Ram-Menashe, Itay Pollak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


This case study explored the educational benefits that can be gained from experiencing and sharing pedagogical failure. It examined the potential of an instructional failure to open up opportunities for teachers’ collaborative learning and the development of their adaptive expertise. Applying linguistic ethnographic methods and frame analysis, we focused on an audio-recorded team meeting of mathematics teachers discussing a videotaped ninth-grade geometry lesson. The videotaped teacher shared the lesson with her colleagues to explore her failure to teach her students how to write a two-column proof. We show how the team's discussion of their colleague's failure opened up an opportunity to critically reflect on a standard practice and advance their pedagogical sensitivity, interpretation, and repertoire. However, this opportunity was not fully realized because of the team's failure to productively frame the failure. The findings highlight the role of socio-emotional obstacles, such as face-work and coping with uncertainty, in framing failure and in turning an individual instructional failure into a collaborative opportunity for teachers to learn. The study expands our understanding of how failure experiences can be beneficial in educational contexts by underscoring the centrality of framing processes in managing socio-emotional obstacles. It suggests that educating teachers about productive framing of failure and ways to support it is imperative for failure experiences to promote learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-41
Number of pages11
JournalThinking Skills and Creativity
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2018


  • Collaborative learning
  • Frame
  • Problems of practice
  • Productive failure
  • Teacher learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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