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Sunday, September 30, 2012

10 Ways to Help Students Cope with Making Mistakes



One of the most valuable things we can teach children is how to cope with making mistakes.  Making mistakes is a human quality that all students need be comfortable with.  They need to know that if we didn’t make mistakes, there would be nothing to learn. 

However, most all students strive for the recognition of a perfect score on assignments and tests.  Even a single mistake can create anxiety and disappointment.  Unfortunately, perfect scores continue to be rewarded and mistakes frowned upon.
So what can we all do to help?  Here are ten suggestions:
    1) Be comfortable admitting when you make a mistake.  Show students that it is okay to be wrong and that you can use it as an opportunity to learn.   
    2) Make sure to point out what a student has done right on an assignment as well as what was incorrect. 
    3) Always give your students the opportunity to fix mistakes so that they can learn from them and correct any misconceptions.
    4) Communicate to your students that their mistakes can help you to be a better teacher because it helps you to uncover the areas that need more instruction.
    5) If more than 50% of your students get a test item incorrect, throw out that item out.  For those that got it, you can offer them extra credit.  You can always then make sure to teach the concept in your next lesson and then include the item on the next test.  
    6) Thank your students for making errors and mistakes.   
    7) Instead of telling a student that they are wrong or incorrect, tell them that it was a nice try, or that they are close to the right answer and see if they can amend their response independently.  
    8)  Recognize a student’s effort and guide them to the right answer so that they can be correct.
    9) If a student provides the wrong answer, ask them why they gave you the response that they did so you can analyze their misconception.
    10) Keep a positive attitude when students make mistakes.    
     I'd love to hear your recommendations and thoughts on this matter!!
 
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Careless, Lazy and Unmotivated are Three Labels that Should be Banned from Education


Kids never strive to be careless, lazy or unmotivated and referring to a student in this way never helps a situation.  In fact, many kids that hear these labels again and again can develop a sense of learned helplessness. 
I’ll never forget a student of mine coming into one of our sessions in a terrible frame exclaimed, “I’m careless and unmotivated!”  He slid a graded assignment across the table in front of me.  Red marks cut across his work and in bold, scarring letters and exclamation points the teacher had told Jake that he had made many careless errors. 
Even though Jake’s grade was an 88, it took me almost an hour to convince him that he was not careless and unmotivated. Jake had learning disabilities as well as ADHD and I knew the errors that he had made had nothing to do with care or effort.  The poor guy was so detached and dejected, he hadn’t even evaluated the mishaps, and when he finally looked at them, he could see that they were all unintentional.
 At the end of our session, I pointed out to Jake that his teacher had misspelled careless.  She had spelled it “carless.”  I exclaimed, “How careless of her,” and winked at Jake.   I then pointed out that this wasn’t really a careless mistake, it was simply an oops.  “School is a place where we should be comfortable making an oops and then learning from it,” I proclaimed. 
I took the paper out into the waiting room and showed it to his mother.  I then asked her to do me a favor and make an appointment with the teacher.  “Hand the assignment back to the teacher”, I recommended, “and point out how careless it was for her to have misspelled this word.  Then pause for a short while and say, ‘That’s how you made my son feel.’”
So please take care to erase these negative labels from your lexicon so your students can feel safe to make mistakes and then learn from them.
If you have any thoughts on this topic, I'd love to hear your thoughts!!
 
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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