Risks of limiting mistake-making in the classrooms, and beyond
If we limit mistakes in the classroom we risk creating a culture of being inside “the box”, and losing creativity, enthusiasm, and joy. We risk creating a “Be Right, Do Right” society in which people are limited by the pre-existing rules of how things shall be done.
Mistakes can be better interpreted as learningThe ability to plan to make (manageable) mistakes, and learn from them will give students important life skills that will serve them in their unknown futures.
Mistakes are worth making, partly for the immediate learning, and partly for the long-term bravery that grows and guides the adult-to-be.
When students accept responsibility for their mistakes, learning becomes possible. Teachers may have to hold true that “Making mistakes is not the same as being a mistake.” and communicate this to their students through their actions in the classroom. How teachers respond to “the wrong answer” will be a vital opportunity for showing what they believe in.
Students who have experienced elsewhere that mistakes are painful and to be avoided will naturally challenge anyone who lives by a different code.
As teacher you can guide your students to see that although you cannot undo a mistake, you can choose how to respond to it. Before you request that a student sees the mistake as a step towards a desirable result, you will have to show them that you can do the same thing.
In the book "A Coaching Approach to Education", I list a number of manageable ways of including errors, mistakes, and bloopers that will encourage students to believe that you see errors as a way ahead in learning.
The book is available here http://www.martinrichards.eu/books.html
Growth starts when you can see room for improvement.So, what are you scared of doing wrong in your classroom, and how are you going to manage that so that you can be a role model for the Magic of Mistakes?
CAtE book, available on Amazon (click the picture)
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.