Yale Center for Teaching and Learning

Spring Teaching Forum

The Spring Teaching Forum brings together all members of the Yale community (faculty, staff, postdocs, graduate and undergraduate students) to engage in a discussion on a particular theme related to teaching and learning for one day each spring.

Previous Spring Teaching Forum Topics

2019: Productive Failure: How an Error-Positive Climate Promotes Student Success

2018: Difficult Conversations in the Classroom

2017: Civic Engagement in Teaching

2016: Valuing Diversity in Teaching and Learning

2015: The Impact of Technology

2014: Are All Yale Students “A” Students?

2013: Online Teaching, Student Learning

2012: Learning and the Liberal Arts

2011: Let’s Talk Lecture

2010: Teaching Collaboratively

2009: The Joy in Teaching

2008: Information Explosion

2007: Why Do We Grade?

2006: Teaching Students/Training Scholars

2005: Teaching and Research

2004: Lecture, Section, and Learning

2003: Engaging Complexity

2002: Reaching Students: The Art of Great Teaching

2001: Teaching the Future

2000: Teaching in the Life of the Scholar

1999: Graduate Education and the Changing Marketplace for Academics

A group of red, yellow, and orange tulips in a flower bed in the Jonathan Edwards courtyard.

Productive Failure:

How an Error-Positive Climate Promotes Student Success

April 29, 2019

Please join us for the 2019 Annual Spring Teaching Forum, an extended exploration of how productive failure can help students to build resilience and engage in critical thinking as they learn. The keynote speaker, Joshua Eyler, is the Executive Director of the Rice University Center for Teaching Excellence and author of How Humans Learn. To start the day, a faculty panel will discuss how providing low-stakes ways for students to take risks can be an effective tool for teaching and consider the role Yale’s culture of success plays in our teaching. The keynote speaker will situate this discussion in the context of discoveries from the science of learning about the importance of risk-taking and “opportunities for failure.” Finally, we will explore in small-group discussions what productive failure means in different disciplinary contexts. This forum for graduate students, faculty, and postdocs promises to generate lively discussion about the role of risk-taking and resilience in learning. For more information, contact Suzanne Young.

Spring Teaching Forum schedule
8:30 Breakfast
9:00 Welcome
9:15 Faculty panel
10:30 Coffee break
10:45 Keynote speaker
12:00 Lunch & breakout discussions
1:15 Wrap-up and final words


Joshua Eyler, Executive Director, Rice University Center for Teaching Excellence

Title: Why Failure is Essential for Student Learning:

Students are frequently asked to achieve, on their first attempts, stellar results on high-stakes, high-pressure assessments. New research is showing us that this strategy does not work well because it is not how human beings naturally learn. We need to make mistakes before we can get the right answers. In this talk, I’ll explore the research findings and we will work together to identify “opportunities for failure” in our courses so that we can help students maximize their learning.