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Teacher's Guide to The Importance of Learning from Mistakes and Failures

Failure is one of  the words that makes our foreheads frown each time we hear it. We grow up in a culture that is full of misconceptions about failure. If you fail then you are not smart enough, you are a looser, you suck, and the list of such pejorative words  is too long. We become more concerned with failure than with what we have to really achieve.

What we really fail to recognize is that failure in itself is an achievement. Would you fail if you have not tried ? This is a process of trail and error and as Isaac Newton once said " If you do not commit mistakes then you have never tried something new ". Sir Ken Robinson stated in his great book Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative  " Every creative process passes through  various phases, it may involve false starts, trial and error and a series of  successive approximations along the way to the finished work. The educational value of  creative work lies as much in the process of conceptual development as in the creation of the final product ".Yes this is how we should teach our students to look at their mistakes and failures, as a process towards real achievement. We would not let them have the same falsified  perceptions we had when we were young.

mistakes and failure

Making a mistake is a healthy symptom of learning and without them we can never assess and localize the problem areas in ones learning path.Additionally, it is only by making mistakes and failing that learners learn better and information gets more consolidated both in the long and shor term memory. Failure in fact can largely benefit our memories, its analogous to the engine oil for it keeps it running smooth and active.

mistakes and failure

As  teachers, we need to understand the philosophy of mistakes and in helping you doing so, I am sharing with you some great resources that I have meticulously selected from Larry Ferlazzo Websotes of the Day. The following are links to some great articles and studies on the importance of mistakes in learning. I have also embedded some great videos that you can also share with your students. Let us all fight off those misconceptions about failure and mistakes and revamp our students learning methods. Bookmark the post to get back to it whenever you feel like reading one of its cited resources.

Here is the list of the articles : Just click on any title to read the entire article

Here are two videos about the same topic

1- This one is from TED


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