Oh No! Turn That Failure into a Learning Lesson

July 10, 2014

 Ready, set, go! I am off to do my first ever mud run. And man am I scared that I won’t be able to finish. But before I go into that, I want to share why I chose to do the Lozilu Mud Run. I love its mission to include all body types and its cause to raise money for kids with cancer. What can be more meaningful than that? Seriously!

So why am I stuck on not being able to finish? It is because, as an adult with a learning disability, I use the excuse of perfectionism to get in the way of growth. I admit it. I am still learning how to work beyond my old learning habits, and I often see children beat themselves up before they have even started. It breaks my heart. The key to growth is not just about praising their effort but giving children the control to change things. So how do we make making mistakes okay?

There are many different types of learners: ADHD, gifted and talented, and typical learner. However, these are all only labels. The job we have as holders of our children’s education, be it a teacher or educator, requires that we make a safe environment to make mistakes for all types of learners.

Change the language and make it okay to mess up. Oftentimes, you are not the only one disappointed when your child makes a mistake. They feel it too.

When I am working with children, and they make a mistake, I put on my excited voice and say, “I am so happy that you made this mistake. Let’s find a way to fix it together.”

One of my favorite people in business, Marie Forleo, says, “Everything is figureoutable.” Make that your motto together. Reassure children that together you will find a way to figure it out.

A student of mine recently had a teacher who did not allow her time to do her work. By doing so, the teacher did not make use of a learning opportunity. The student didn’t have a chance to be okay with making a mistake, and so she gave up on writing.

Allowing time to correct the mistake allows the learner to see not only the solution, but also how they got into the problem. This building of problem-solving skills allows the learner to be a part of the learning experience, rather than just a mere observer.

Finally, make mistakes into a game.

See how many grammatical errors you can find in a set amount of time, and then share what was wrong. Mark each error with a smiley face instead of a red pen.

Highlights magazine does a great job with Hidden Pictures.

You have to find the items that are out of place. It makes it fun, silly, and challenging to find the out-of-place items.

Mistakes are a learning tool to be used for good and not evil! It’s all about learning.

If you have any other tips that work for you and child, we’d love to hear them!

Happy Summer Learning,
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