Skip to main content

It’s Okay to Make Mistakes!



By Jeanne Lazzarini, Math Master Educator/R&D Specialist, RAFT

I have often shared with my students that I make mistakes, and I have learned so much because of them! Sometimes I even purposefully made a mistake in a math lesson to see if students take notice! Let your students know it is okay to make mistakes, and when you do, your brain is developing new insights, new ways of thinking, and bursts of conceptual understanding!  





From an early age many of us are taught that it’s bad to make mistakes, to fear failures, and to avoid them all costs. However, the truth is that failure and making mistakes are a necessary part of growing up and of being successful and should never be avoided! 

So, you might ask, how do I encourage students to feel okay about making mistakes?  Talk with them about mistakes and failures, including:
·         Have students investigate “famous” people who have made mistakes, then share them with the class!  They’ll be very surprised at these stories of success from failures!  (see:  http://www.onlinecollege.org/2010/02/16/50-famously-successful-people-who-failed-at-first/ )
·         Encourage alternate ways of expressing thoughts; verbally, written, artistically, acted out, or whatever. Even if that thought is off-target, it often leads to other ideas that may not have otherwise been discovered!
·         Failure and mistakes teach us an approach may not be right for a particular solution, but opens the door to investigating alternate approaches.
·         Inspire stepping out of a “comfort zone” and trying something new! This leads to new insights and self-realization!  And each time you fail, your fear of failure becomes smaller, allowing you to take on bigger challenges!
·         Each failure brings you closer to your goals and makes you stronger and better.  This brings to mind the saying “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”….
·         Learn from your mistakes by thinking about where you can go beyond them to get better.  You will never fail as long as you
never give up! 
·         All “successful” people have failed and understand the value of not giving up! 
·         Research shows when students make mistakes, brains grow!


So, it is good to make mistakes, and it is very important to talk about this with your students! Share examples, encourage alternate ways of thinking through a problem, and you’ll see students blossom with a new enthusiasm for learning!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

¡Olé! Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

¡Olémis amigos! Holy Guacamole! It’s once again time to celebrate Cinco De Mayo—the 5th of May! Instead of all the controversy around Mexico in the past year, this may be an excellent opportunity to educate your students and allow them to ask questions about what they hear on the news. Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day from Spain (which is September 16th)! “¡Ay, caramba!”as Bart Simpson would say….

This is “la verdad” (the truth): when the French invaded Mexico in 1862, Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza’s force of 4,000 soldiers defeated 8,000 French soldiers in the Battle of Puebla on May 5th. The Mexicans’ courage inspired Mexican Americans (Chicanos) to celebrate the victory even though the French occupation continued four more years. Later in the 1960’s and 70’s, Chicanos involved in the civil rights movement associated Cinco de Mayo with their quest for respect in the U.S. They identified with the Native Mexican and Mestizo (people of mixed Native Mexican and European de…

Why I Chose a Career in Education

There are many moments where I am reminded why I chose a career in education. These moments arise when I am engaged in conversation with other teachers, conducting professional development workshops, developing new lessons, or simply reading about changes and latest developments in the field. Education is a dynamic field, and it has provided me with many opportunities to positively impact the lives of young learners as well as provide inspiration and support to new teachers. One such occasion occurred in mid-April when I was invited by Dr. Rosalinda Quintanar to conduct a presentation to students in a class entitled Meeting the Needs of Second-Language Learners (EDTE 162), a course within San Jose State University’s Teacher Education Department and a credential requirement. The class consisted of approximately 30 credential candidates, and its primary focus is applying theory and practical classroom techniques for providing equitable access to content for English language learners.
The…

National Arbor Day is Coming… Hug A Tree!

“The cultivation of flowers and trees is the cultivation of the good, the beautiful and the ennobling in man, and for one, I wish to see this culture become universal.”
Those words, from J. Sterling Morton, the founder of Arbor Day, got me thinking about how caring for trees and respecting all living things greatly impact future generations. National Arbor Day (held this year on April 27th) is an annual observance celebrating the role of trees in our lives and promoting tree planting and care. This holiday was first observed in 1872, in Nebraska, but tree planting festivals are as old as civilization. Trees have appeared throughout history as the symbol of life and hope. As teachers, we can encourage students to appreciate trees, nature, and all living things for future generations to enjoy! Here are a few STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) ideas to help you spread agricultural information and enthusiasm for trees on Arbor Day with your students: SCIENCE: Explore t…