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Celebrating Mistakes

Picture This

You’re thirteen years old, sitting in your eighth-grade math class.  You woke up that morning and put on your newest outfit that you just got and you are so pumped to look cool.  Maybe this will be the first time that boy you like says hi to you in the hallway.  You get to math class and you are so busy daydreaming about the future wedding that you have no idea what is going on.  Next thing you know your daydream is interrupted by the teacher calling your name.  The problem is, you haven’t been paying attention… now your palms are sweating, your heart is racing, and you have no idea what to say. If you say the wrong answer, everyone is going to laugh!

Sound Familiar?

Our society today is too afraid of failure.  Imagine what our world would be like if people weren’t worried about getting things wrong.

A Perfect World

In a perfect world, our students would be willing to take risks.  Our students would be willing to put themselves out there and not worried about what their peers will think if they make a mistake.

We need to create a world where our students, and ourselves, are not thinking about the negative.

Encourage Risks

We need to work on creating a positive, safe environment.

Teachers need to be showing students that it’s okay to make mistakes.  We can show them this by being comfortable with our own mistakes.

When we make mistakes in the classroom and we are open about them and don’t respond negatively, we are demonstrating to our students that mistakes are normal.

If you work with younger students, here is a story that is great. This story shares with students that mistakes are okay.

Promoting that Effort is Key

Our students need to know that the most important thing is doing our best.

It is important for us to encourage our students to be constantly trying their hardest, even if they are unsure of themselves.

This is where growth mindset comes in.  Many districts are promoting growth mindset to help encourage our students to remember that no matter where they are now, they can make themselves better.  Check out my collection of growth mindset bulletin boards here: Great Middle School Bulletin Boards

Some Other Tips

One thing we can do is avoid questions that have black and white answers.  If you are using more open-ended questions, you are avoiding hard wrong or write answers.

Show your students how you can learn from your mistakes.  If you are open and honest with students about how mistakes can be turned into a positive, they are more likely to follow your lead.

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4 thoughts on “Celebrating Mistakes

  1. This is so important to emphasize, especially at the middle level when students are so concerned about their peers’ perceptions of them and one wrong comment or move can ruin their week! It’s often so easy for us as the teachers to get caught up in our content – this is a good reminder to focus on our students’ social and emotional needs!

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