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Home » Fail Forward » The Role of Mistakes in the Classroom, EDUTOPIA, September 6, 2011, by Alina Tugend

The Role of Mistakes in the Classroom, EDUTOPIA, September 6, 2011, by Alina Tugend

As the school doors swing open to welcome the start of another year, both teachers and students will have goals: to inspire a class, to learn new things, to get good grades.

What probably won’t be on that list is to make a mistake — in fact many. But it should be.

Why? Because we’re raising a generation of children — primarily in affluent, high-achieving districts — who are terrified of blundering. Of failing. Of even sitting with the discomfort of not knowing something for a few minutes.

If students are afraid of mistakes, then they’re afraid of trying something new, of being creative, of thinking in a different way. They’re scared to raise their hands when they don’t know the answer and their response to a difficult problem is to ask the teacher rather than try different solutions that might, gasp, be wrong.

They’re as one teacher told me, “victims of excellence.”

Read Alina’s full article.

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