Homework and the Fear of Failure

I find it interesting that one of the best takes on a fundamental flaw in homework can be found on a video game YouTube channel. However, when you look closer, it shouldn’t surprise you.


The Extra Credits YouTube channel is produced by game designers who are also teachers. (They also produce an incredible series of videos about history, called Extra History.) Many people have commented on the fact that homework is a better tool for assessment than instruction. What makes this video unique is that it examines an essential issue—the fear of failure that arises from a homework system where students aren’t allowed to correct their mistakes.

When students are consumed with the fear of failure, they can be paralyzed when it comes to schoolwork. Though we encourage students to be persistent, we do not treat mistakes and failures as essential teaching devices. This is one of the concepts that I think this video tackles really well. It also explores how new technology can give teachers data about where and how their students are having issues with academic material. Collecting this data through games and computers would save teacher so much time, allowing them to tailor work specifically for students.

Let me know what you think about this video in the comments. Are the people from Extra Credits onto something?


  • Elizabeth Ross, M.A., SMARTS Media Manager