Students making mistakes is normal. But addressing such mistakes now and then can be frustrating. You spend a huge part of your time lesson planning, grading and all, and here comes correcting and fixing errors added to the task. If there’s one place that finds the word “failure” useful, it is in classrooms.
In your opinion, what should teachers do when students make mistakes?
The Science Behind Student Mistakes
Regardless of whether the learner is in elementary or high school, no matter their age, no matter the material, no matter the topic; when you ask them where they struggle the most, students will be happy to name that problem.
Mistakes are the most useful thing that happens in any classroom. Why? Because they tell you where students lack understanding, need support, and more practice.
It’s not simply excellent advice to tell kids to study hard. Instead, involving yourself in changing your students’ perspective on mistakes is a powerful way to make them feel you are beside them regardless of any struggle. Isn’t it one of your goals as a teacher to help every learner turn mistakes into what’s accurate?
Check out some powerful suggestions below.
By the way…
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What Should Teachers Do When Students Make Mistakes?
1. Make a Big Room for Mistakes
One of the best ways to lessen anxiety about mistakes in the classroom is to make the class understand that committing wrong answers is allowed. In fact, encouraging to find mistakes in every activity is effective.
Embracing mess through the learning process models how to deal with failure and for the teacher is an open way to provide feedback. What this strategy offers is how you can select tasks for students to work on with only one possible approach, or that might not have one clear answer.
The challenge allows learners to reflect on their process. Their struggle in the middle of “all mistakes” leads them to explore more without hesitance. Students will be forging their own pathway to come out with a correct answer without fear of committing errors.
2. Help Students Think Rationally Rather Than Emotionally
Normally, learners think about their mistakes with lots of emotions. Every mistake envelops them with insecurity that the more errors they commit, the more they think they are unintelligent.
So why don’t support students to look at their mistakes as a valuable asset? Most students hide their test results if they get a bad score. This is a poisonous move that covers the will to aim higher and get better. Changing your students’ perspective on mistakes helps them view the mistake as a helpful tool in moving forward.
A part of academic success is how they feel about their mistakes. The moment they learn to acknowledge mistakes through the learning atmosphere, it minimizes an automatic downhearted response.
3. Caddy Closely by Responding with Care
Students who are brave enough to fix something erroneous are already tracking success. They have understood how worthwhile their effort is which leads them to be more persistent because they know they can achieve it.
You would want to repeat each fixing point more than you normally would. Keep them interested in asking questions and finding solutions in the details. Keep explaining how a process brings out a correct answer or move. Raise their correct answers to recognition and show the relevance of each point.
To caddy is to follow steps in order, create more practice time, try and try again. This is how to turn motivation to come out naturally than simply encouraging them to study more. Using a story brings a calming effect when explaining how a certain thing got wrong.
4. Teach them to Be Specific about Their Mistakes
If you try to look at students’ mistakes, many of these are either careless errors or concepts applied inadequately to different problems. In either case, the error has something to do with negligence.
Giving students the opportunity to find their exact mistakes and then correct them on their own creates a positive impact on their desire to learn. At the same time, learning to rethink mistakes also pinpoints the root causes of common errors.
Have students write down what is bothering them or where they are struggling the most. For example, one might write, “I failed to follow the steps of the project,” and another one would have “I got a lot of mistakes in the science quiz.”
5. Figure Out How much effort to Put Into the Mistake Analysis
Mistakes arise from different causes. To figure out how much effort is needed for support, find out the sources of mistakes to be able to plan what to do next.
With the subject of math, for example, many students rely on the methods shown to get the solution than actually understanding the entire concept. But the moment they realize that the way to a correct answer is by understanding concepts, then it’s like pinning down the source of faults on their own.
This helps you measure the type of support to provide, how much time to practice, and the method to apply. Sharing that clarity with your students creates the drive to work out mistakes as it helps them develop a more constructive manner of handling errors.
6. Use Technology that Supports Mistakes
Most mistakes that learners get are problem-based. Since technology touches designs that engage students, integrating it into problem-based instructions provides collaborative solutions. This support develops the skills needed for problem-solving.
Technology supplies additional opportunities for learners to interact with math concepts. The visualizations and explorations show them the why or the big idea of mathematics.
For example, a web-based graphing calculator is excellent for plotting graphs, performing variables, and solving equations. Students also discover solutions using games, simulations, and digital tools. With educational software, you can automatically get analyses of the strengths and weaknesses of your students.
You’ll love to watch this video about how you can improve with mistakes.
Looking at your students’ mistakes as a valuable asset helps you read them emotionally. For many of them, committing mistakes, again and again, feels shameful. But showing them how such errors complete their knowledge, and that you are there to help them in their struggles – helps them believe they can avoid the source of their “wrongs.”
If you want to help your students turn their mistakes into learning success, don’t quickly limit things in doing justice to all their mistakes. Instead, keep an eye on each of them so you can closely follow, pin the source of errors, and give individual feedback. All these are your secret keys to responding to your students’ mistakes better.
Do you have anything else to share? Your experience surely can help many teachers out there. Feel free to share them in the comments.