Making mistakes helps us to learn – doesn’t it?

Making mistakes helps us to learn – doesn’t it? Only this week I have had a conversation with a 7 year old who already believes that it is not OK to make mistakes. He said he felt he would be told off if he made a mistake and therefore making mistakes was a bad thing.

What are our children being taught?

Making mistakes is something we all do – lots! We need to teach our children that it is ok to make mistakes. But more importantly we need to teach our children what to do when we make mistakes. If we do not equip them with the resilience to deal with mistakes then surely we are failing them?

Our children are being set up for failure and worse than that they are not equipped with the skills to deal with said failure. Skills such as resilience and having another go and not giving up will not develop unless we provide carefully managed experiences of failing. If the opportunities to fail do not present themselves to our children when a failure does occur how will they know what to do with the feelings this brings up and moreover how will they learn to try again?

Frustration comes about as a result of a lack of opportunities to make mistakes and learn from them.

Making mistakes helps us to learn

Failure can bring about very strong negative feelings and also a great deal of frustration. It takes practice and opportunities to say to yourself ‘OK that didn’t work… so what? Let’s try something else.’

I always encourage children to make mistakes – without mistakes we don’t make new connections or pathways in our brains that enable us to have a better understanding of things. For example, in maths if I always get the answer right have I mastered the concept? Possibly not… it could have been that I had enough knowledge to apply the right pattern to enable me to get the right answer.
The real question is did I develop my understanding of the concept well enough to apply this learning in a variety of different ways and within different types of question?

If I am afraid of making mistakes I will not try alternative ways to get to the answer. This is not mastering a concept.
Please – make mistakes – making mistakes helps us to learn! Our children will have a better understanding in the end! 😄

At Teach My Child we plan for mistakes and encourage the children to explore them in a safe environment. This builds confidence and resilience. Check out our Facebook page for more information about the sessions we offer.

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