visited many more schools than I have, tell me that the schools I have notseen are not a bit better than those I have, and very often are worse.FOREWORD TO REVISED EDITIONAfter this book came out, people used to say to me, "When are you going towrite a book about how
fail?" My answer was, "But that's what this book is about."But if it is a book about a teacher who often failed, it is also about a teacher who was not satisfied to fail, not resigned to failure. It was my job and mychosen task to help children learn things, and if they did not learn what Itaught them, it was my job and task to try other ways of teaching them untilI found ways that worked.For many years now I've been urging and begging teachers and studentteachers to take this attitude toward their work. Most respond by saying,"Why are you blaming us for everything that goes wrong in schools? Whyare you trying to make us feel all this guilt?"But I'm not. I didn't
myself or feel guilt, just because my studentswere so often not learning what I was teaching, because I wasn’t doing whatI had set out to do and couldn't find out how to do it. But I did hold myself
."Blame" and "guilt" are crybaby words. Let's get them out of our talk abouteducation. Let's use instead the word "responsible." Let's have schools andteachers begin to hold themselves responsible for the results of what they do.I held myself responsible. If my students weren't learning what J wasteaching, it was my job to find out why.
How Children Fail
, as I said, was a partial record of my not very successful attempts to find out why. Now,twenty years after I wrote most of
How Children Fail
, I think I know muchmore about why. That’s what this revised version of the book is about.I've decided to leave the original exactly as I wrote it, and where I havesecond thoughts about what I then wrote, I’ve put those to. It may seem tosome that it took me too long to learn what I have learned, and that I mademany foolish mistakes, and missed many obvious clues. I feel no guilt aboutthis. I was trying as best I could to discover something difficult and