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

CUSD Shares Possible STEAM Projects by Grade

Twelve STEAM Innovation Leaders from the Campbell Unified School District (CUSD) came to RAFT earlier this month to create new motivational activities for the start of the school year!  They met in grade-level teams with our RAFT Education staff to generate new ideas using RAFT materials that will motivate, challenge, and inspire their students. Each team was given a RAFT Makerspace-in-a-Box containing a wide variety of upcycled materials. They were asked to create a Design Challenge that directed students to solve the instructor’s challenge with the materials from the box. The Design Challenges addressed an engineering standard appropriate for each grade level and could include standards from other subjects. Here are some of their exciting back-to-school ideas:
************************************************************************************* Grades TK – 2 Engineering Standard: K-2-ETS1-1:  Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to chan…

Use the Winter Olympics to engage your students

The 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics are right around the corner!
This worldwide event offers excellent opportunities to use the Olympics to inspire your students to learn about many mathematical concepts such as slope. How can the Olympics help students understand slope? Think of ski slopes! Ask students to watch the Olympics this year on TV and to look for sports that use steep paths (e.g., snowboarding, downhill skiing, alpine skiing, bobsleighing, etc.)! Back in class, have students recreate replica “ski slopes” using sections of white foam board. Place one end of a foam board against a wall with the opposite end touching the floor at an angle so that it forms the hypotenuse of a right triangle (the right angle is between the wall and the floor). Refer to the vertical distance (“rise”) from the floor to where the top edge of the board touches the wall as the y-intercept. Refer to the horizontal distance (“run”) starting at the wall and to the bottom of the board farthest away from t…

The "RAFTy" Teacher Checklist - 5 Things to do to Prepare for Back to School