There is natural joy in learning and everyone can learn. The thing is that failure is part of any learning process. The critical challenge for teachers and parents is to avoid to consciously act against overt or repeated labelling of children when they do fail.
At school we like to see FAIL as the acronym for First Attempt In Learning and we use language like “We can’t do it YET” to reinforce the understanding that, to learn we need to take risks and be prepared to make some mistakes as part of the learning journey. Few, if any, of us would claim we never fell off as we learned to ride a bike and it is just the same for all other forms of learning – academic, physical and creative.
It is imperative that we ensure children believe they can be successful learners so they are willing to have a go and persevere when the going is tough. Encouragement and recognition of effort and incremental progress will keep children believing in their capacity to learn and willing to keep trying. This is not just true for those children who experience some difficulty with some aspect of academic learning, it is also true for highly capable and gifted learners, who mostly find learning is relatively easy. These children can be the risk averse and inclined to give up when challenged with hard concepts. It is their motivation and self-belief too that will keep them going when challenged, particularly when they understand that failing is part of the learning process.