The other night I was watching a TED talks and I learned a very important principle. The lady doing the talking explained about getting things wrong and how we are always afraid to get things wrong. We fear messing up and making mistakes. If you think about yourself now and really look at how you act when you find out you were wrong what do you do or how do you react? Think about it for a while and try to remember that feeling you had when you were wrong.
In the talk it was explained that we are hard wired to hate being wrong and this can cause many problems. When I was younger I hated getting the wrong answer in math. It always bothered me that everyone else got near perfect scores but even with my hard work I got a lot if red X’s all over my paper. I did not see any of those X’s as a learning opportunity until one year in high school. While in a math class in high school I had a teacher that had a different way of correcting and working homework. We would grade our own paper in class and take turns reading off the answer. If anyone had a question on that problem we would then work it together on the board. I still had lots of red X’s on my paper but I now knew why and was not afraid of them, in fact it was easy to study for tests because I would just go over my red X’s because those were the problems I did not understand the first time around. The teacher also went on to help us find our weak spots by seeing what problems we missed to go over again the next day. I learned that being wrong was just a way to see what is right.
As educators and parents we need to stop making the children feel like being wrong is a bad thing. I really love what Miss Frizzle says on the Magic School Bus “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy! How amazing would our world be if we stopped trying to be perfect but looked at being wrong as a learning opportunity. I hope that all children know that making a mistake is not just how we learn, but it begins the learning process because it is as we realize we were wrong that we choose if our mind opens up to the possibility of learning more.
Best wishes to all you educators!