What's in a mistake?
How afraid are you of making mistakes? I have to admit that in certain areas I'm more scared than in others. When I first moved to Sweden from the UK, I felt pretty scared of speaking Swedish.
For two years, the embarrassment of speaking like a duck was stronger than the social and business benefits of communicating in the local language.And then I began to see that I was losing out socially, and professionally. So, quite suddenly I made up my mind to speak Swedish and I went to school and rapidly learned the words and grammar, and sounded like a duck. Swedish is an easy language, once you have decided to learn it.
How scared are your students of making mistakes? I'm sure a quick survey of your class would reveal that some students are not even willing to publicly state that they are scared of making mistakes. On my visits as a public speaker to schools, have asked students the question “Who's afraid of making mistakes” and seen how they look at each other to check if it's OK to make such an admission in public. Then we talk about the look they just gave each other; and what it can mean for their lives.
In any class where mistakes are taboo, the learning is limited. Where there is stronger focus on the Pain, there is less focus on the Benefits. So the question that you have to answer is how to promote the view that making mistakes is actually a learning technique. How can you do that?
I suggest that you become a role model, and make some mistakes in class, as a demonstration of what you believe; if you believe.
The Educator's Mindset
Mission Awakening the Learner, Deepening the Learning
Identity Guide, Facilitator
Values Curiosity, Humour and Courage
Mind-set “Wrong answers are the doorway to deeper learning”
Action Ask open questions!
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Coaching Tools, available for download (click the picture)
Teacher, facilitator and coach; Martin Richards trains educators to use a coaching approach all the work they do.