photo-3I put the three words: science behind mistakes into a Google search and wasn’t surprised to find many blogs discussing this phenomena. That is exactly what a phenomena is! Young children are able to assimilate in the world so quickly because they don’t worry about making mistakes. They proceed with a spirit of endless adventure, persistence, and enthusiasm. By the time kids hit school they are much more wary and succumb to having been schooled to value product over the process. Concentrating on the process allows kids to learn more efficiently, which of course, includes making lots of mistakes and learning from them along the way.

I adore Edutopia and came across this blog on twitter today which was the impetus behind this post to begin with. Also, the online magazine Educationcom is a growing site and the go-to destination for involved parents and educators alike, and, they too, had a great article on this topic. The other blog is new to me, but seemed to offer the perfect advice to end with. Hoping to hear what others are thinking when it comes to the science behind mistakes…Here is a snippet from 3 blogs that discuss the science behind mistakes:

making-mistakesMistakes are the most important thing that happens in any classroom, because they tell you where to focus that deliberate practice.

So why don’t students view their mistakes as valuable assets? Well, students don’t think about their mistakes rationally — they think about them emotionally. Mistakes make students feel stupid. “Stupid” is just that: a feeling. Specifically, it’s the feeling of shame, and our natural response is to avoid its source. If we say something embarrassing, we hide our face. If we get a bad grade, we hide the test away. Unsurprisingly, that’s the worst move to make if you ever want to get better. Academic success does not come from how smart or motivated students are. It comes from how they feel about their mistakes. READ MORE HERE

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” ~ Albert Einstein

When we’re small children, our mistakes are applauded. Our falling-down attempts to walk for the first time are cheered by our parents, giving us the courage to get up and try again. When we accidentally put our shirt on backwards, people smile and praise our independence. At this age, the world teaches us that failure is merely part of the journey to success. But when we get to school, we quickly learn that mistakes are bad. Answers are right or wrong, true or false, bubbles to be filled in with a Number 2 pencil. The risk-taking that used to be rewarded is now punished, and we either give up or learn to stick with safe answers. Unfortunately, this black-or-white thinking doesn’t encourage learning. Instead, it fosters a fear of failure and discourages ingenuity.  READ MORE HERE

Here are three quick adjustments that ELISABETH MORROW SCHOOL recommends you can use daily to help your child (and yourself):

  • change “I can’t” to “I can if”
  • change “why bother fixing it?” to “so if I find a way”
  • change “see, it happened again” to “see, it worked”

Deliberate practice involves isolating what is not working and figuring out how to make it work. Practice for the sake of practice can be a big waste of time. Through positive language, trust building, neutral feedback, and emotional neutrality, we all have a shot at helping our children stick with things so that they may have a chance to become experts in something they love! READ MORE HERE

And check out our recent blog on risk taking and too much praise…

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