When we consciously (or unconsciously) save our children from making mistakes, we rob them of an opportunity to grow. A student forgets their homework and faces a failing grade.Yes, it’s devastating for the child (and perhaps for the parent).In the long run, does it benefit the child more if the teacher allows the student to call home and request that the parent bring the homework OR should the teacher require the student to accept the failing grade? That endless success loses its meaning, and hence, the intensity of the reward becomes muted. There’s nothing better (unless, of course, you’re rooting for the opposing team).
Accepting mistakes alone doesn’t give us the whole picture, though.
Let’s take this a step further and explore the benefits of making mistakes!
When students are only reinforced for correct answers, we inadvertently mold them into people who are afraid to make mistakes.
In addition, the likelihood that students will take risks goes way down due to their fear of failure.
A negative outcome decreases the likelihood that a student will repeat the same behavior(s) in the future.
Their learning comes from analyzing the situation and choosing a different course of action when faced with similar circumstances.Teachers can do this by encouraging and praising students for their drive, perseverance, motivation, and effort (more information about effective praise can be found here).In this way, students will be more likely to take healthy risks and accept their mistakes.After all, who wants to risk trying something new and failing when easy success is more safe and praiseworthy?Students won’t generally seek out challenging activities if they fear that classmates, parents, or teachers will perceive them as inadequate or stupid.It was a typical day, the lunch bell rang and me and my two so called friends jumped in my little green Toyota.It is amazing how fast you become popular when you have license and others don't.We want our students to take risks and tackle challenging tasks.We want them to feel confident that it’s not the outcome, but instead their effort that defines success.One hard earned lesson came at the age of sixteen, the age when we all feel we have reached adulthood.From the moment I received my driver's permit, my parents told me repeatedly, "Be Careful, Drive Slow, Drive Safe! Free, free to hit the road, no parents to drop you off or pick you up. Unfortunately I learned my lesson on being cool and not obeying my parents.