Reframing Negative Experiences: 6 Questions that Help Kids Learn from Failure

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When students reflect in order to reframe negative experiences, they find themselves better able to learn from failure and eventually move beyond it.

Inviting kids to reframe perceptions that cause them anxiety, grief, or pain is important work that all teachers should be prepared to do.

Reframing begins with the awareness that our unique values, beliefs, and experiences shape how we make meaning of different events. When we understand this, we realize how limited our perspectives often are.

Reframing a negative experience allows us to consider different possibilities, explore varied interpretations of it, consider alternative actions and behaviors, and shape potential solutions.

Questions like these can help students reframe negative experiences and manage their stress. They also shine a bright light on what can be gained from their struggles.

6 Questions that Help Kids Learn from Failure

  1. In what ways did this experience help you become more courageous?
  2. What did you learn about yourself from this experience, and how has this knowledge inspired you to make positive changes?
  3. How did this experience make you wiser?
  4. If you were disappointed by your behavior, how might you consider its more positive aspects? In what ways might you use the same behavior to be of service to others in the future?
  5. If your beliefs, actions, or work wasn’t valued by a particular person or group, what are you discovering about the kinds of people and groups that you should be seeking out? Where you can find them? Who are they?
  6. What is this negative experience inspiring you to learn, create, or do?

Reframing is a process that many can use to problem-solve and turn their wounds into wisdom. It’s an option we should be offering students far more often and a tool that we should invite them to add to their growing toolbox of resources for living mindfully and peacefully. This is how inspire lasting shifts in mindset.

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A former English teacher, Angela Stockman is the founder of the WNY Young Writer's Studio, a community of writers and teachers of writing in Buffalo, New York. She is also an education consultant with expertise in curriculum design, instructional coaching, and assessment. Read more from Angela at

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