Mistakes are not really something I have embraced. In first grade, Mrs. Arnold told me that she was going to take my eraser away from me if I didn’t quit using it so much.
For most of my time in the classroom, I did my best to keep my students from making mistakes. I thought it was my job to prevent kiddos from messing up. Maybe that was a mistake. . .
As I’ve grown as a teacher, I’ve grown into the idea that it really is good to let learners fail, to have them do the hard work, to allow them to learn from the struggle. Though I grew up with a fixed mindset, I’ve been working to have more of a growth mindset.
But Jo Boaler (@joboaler) moved me a little further this week in #IMMOOC Season 3, Episode 1. She explained that mistakes cause our brains to spark and grow. Really!?! That was a big shock. How can that be? Well, I’ll spare you the science, but it has something to do with firing synapses. Read more here.
So, instead of creating learning experiences where kiddos don’t have to make mistakes, we should be designing learning experiences that encourage mistakes.
I get it; that means more project and problem-based learning, more inquiry, more real-world problem solving. But, does it mean no more “gradual release;” no more “I do, we do, you do”?
What do you think?