Thomas Edison, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”

10,000 ways to win..

By Luke Scrutton

You will be hard pressed to find a parent who doesn’t want the best for their child. If you’re reading a blog like this, then you are likely a parent who already goes the extra mile for their children and likely take an active interest in their education and development. Most, if not all, parents are supportive of their child’s progress in school and, in turn, children often find their own enthusiasm for school fuelled through their parents’ attitude to education. In fact, the attitude of a parent towards a child’s education is one of the biggest factors in how much a child achieves in school.


Whilst positive attitudes at home are crucial to success in school; there are other ways in which a parent can be supportive of their child’s education. These changes are often very subtle, but they can affect how a child views some of the core principles of education. For example, this new study highlights how children’s attitudes about intelligence can be influenced by a parent’s approach to failure. The study shows how parents who view failure (such as a low grade or a sporting loss) as a negative event tend to give children the impression that their ability or intelligence is something that is ‘fixed’ and cannot be improved. If a child accepts strict limitations on their abilities and talents, they will be less inclined to push forward and try to improve.


The quote, commonly attributed to Thomas Edison, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work” comes to mind. Using failure as an opportunity to learn and consciously focusing on the ability to progress from a disappointing result will not only help pick up your child’s spirits, it will subconsciously inform your child’s approach to future challenges.


Another great way to positively influence your child’s approach to work and education is in how you give praise to their work. Every parent has felt proud of something their child has produced, but it can be too easy to only praise the finished product. At Genie Tutors, we endeavour to praise the hard work and effort that has gone into producing work, rather than the final piece of work. This culture of praising effort is vital to children’s success, especially when they find something challenging. By rewarding a good attitude towards learning, a child is more likely to remain motivated when progress becomes difficult.


When the final piece of work is the only thing to receive praise, children may shy away from challenges, for fear of providing a ‘substandard’ piece of work. However, if a child is taught that hard work is what counts, they’ll be more accepting of challenges and hurdles in their life.


At Genie Tutors, we take the task of giving children a positive approach to education very seriously. Though these small tweaks may seem negligible, they can subconsciously enforce a child’s wider views and opinions on learning.


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