Module 3: Learning from Mistakes
Success is the result of correct decisions.
Correct decisions come from experience.
Experience results from false decisions.
Separation of learning and performance situations
Focus of this module is on reviewing errors as a learning opportunity.
This at first results in the prerequisite that making mistakes is permitted in the class without assessment and humiliation. It is not the punishment of mistakes with bad grades, but appreciation of the success of the learning process that should be in the foreground. Children learn best if they may make mistakes and have the chance to actively experiment through trial-and-error method.
Mistake as a learning opportunity is a chance for both teachers and pupils.
Productive approach towards mistakes
Do not search for mistakes, search for solutions!
Following points help to get a new perspective:
- Avoiding mistakes is not a useful learning strategy.
- Mistakes can give information about ideas and thought processes of the pupil.
- The elimination of a mistake favours its repetition.
- The analysis of a mistake contributes to the prevention of its non-repetition.
How does one arrive at a proactive approach towards mistakes?
- Change of emphasis: Searching for solutions is at least as important as the solutions.
- Allow diversity of ideas: Own ideas (also wrong tracks)! often include more learning possibilities than smoothly laid-out tracks.
- Each opinion counts: Also unconventional (or straight-forward) views and deviating opinions are important and valuable.
- Analysis and consequence: Analysis of a mistake opens up new insights.
Here are some practical suggestions for use in lessons:
M. Katzenbach, Tracking Errors - Children as Error Detectives (PDF, 320 KB)