How to learn? from mistakes

I really enjoyed the video from Diana Laufenberg because it touches on an aspect of education that is so basic and yet often forgotten.  Learning from one’s mistakes is a lesson that is often understood organically and from a very young age.  I don’t ever remember a teacher forcing me to remember this rule, but it was a lesson instilled in me when I was a kid.

Face it: you’re going to mess up, all humans do.  But, it’s what you do with your failures that makes you successful and achieve more goals.  Do you give-up and keep repeating the same mistake over and over? Or do you take that failure, learn from it, and try new methods until you achieve your goal?

This directly relates to my first years teaching.  Yeah, I’ve messed up (quite a bit, one may say).  But, I am constantly learning from mistakes in order to be a better teacher: tweaking lessons, editing tests, re-wording directions.  All with the goal of becoming a more effective teacher on the next go-round.

Now, this video also applies to students as well.  I think the concept of failure is viewed differently depending on the type of student.  For example, “accepting failure” for a student who is currently failing 4 out of 5 classes because they refuse to turn in work, won’t have the same impact as a kid that has all honors classes and a 3.5 GPA.  I personally never want to have that conversation with an honors parent: “oh, it’s ok that they completely bombed this project, they’ll learn from this experience and do better next time”.  Some parents have high (and often unrealistic) expectations for their kids, I don’t feel comfortable explaining to them that failure is ok.

I believe the concept of accepting and learning from mistakes is a great tool for education, and one that is often looked over.  However, it definitely depends on the student…

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