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  • Writer's picturePriscilla Suen

Encouraging Mistakes in the Classroom

At Astor International School we encourage a positive attitude toward making mistakes in the classroom because it’s crucial for fostering a growth mindset, promoting learning, and building resilience in students. As the kids grow older, adults in their lives need to support them by helping them understand that mistakes are a part of life and that we should not be afraid of them or avoid them. Instead, we should embrace making mistakes and learn from them as they are a key part of everyone’s lives.  


Encouraging mistakes in the classroom at Astor International School

First and foremost, we should normalize making mistakes. I forgot to take out the trash, I left my purse on the couch on the way to work. These are all mistakes that adults make on a day-to-day basis. Kids need to observe and learn that it is common and normal to forget something or to leave something out. Emphasizing the normality of such things  will help children to understand that it is all right to make mistakes. 


Encouraging mistakes in the classroom at Astor International School

As teachers in the classroom, we should create a safe environment and model a positive attitude when it comes to making mistakes. Here at Astor International School, we strive to create a classroom culture that values effort over perfection. Teachers emphasize to students that the classroom is a safe space for them to take risks, make mistakes, and learn without the fear of judgment. Teachers demonstrate a positive attitude toward making mistakes by pointing out their own mistakes to students. Allowing students to see that an adult acknowledges their own mistakes shows that even big people have room to learn and grow. It shows that making mistakes isn’t such a scary experience.   


Encouraging mistakes in the classroom at Astor International School

Furthermore, when students make mistakes, teachers are encouraged to give constructive feedback. When giving feedback to students, teachers should focus more on the learning process rather than the final result. At Astor, teachers try to highlight areas of improvement through various rubrics for students to read and understand. They give verbal and written feedback to students after every activity to encourage students to reflect on what they have done and how they can improve on it in the future. Students are also provided opportunities to revise their work after receiving feedback. This reinforces the idea that mistakes are a natural part of the learning process and that improvement is valued. 


Teachers also model the use of appropriate language to support a growth mindset. Using phrases such as  "I have not learned this yet" or "I can try again tomorrow" will subtly shift and influence the student’s attitudes towards challenges and mistakes. This also encourages other students to say that to their peers whenever they see a friend who needs more encouragement when they made a mistake or is struggling to comprehend a topic. 



Lastly, we should always celebrate the effort and persistence of the students. Acknowledging and celebrating the perseverance that students display in their work gives great encouragement to them. Regardless of the outcome, this celebration reinforces the idea that the process of learning is as important as the result. By creating an atmosphere that embraces mistakes as opportunities for growth, you empower students to become resilient learners who are unafraid to take on challenges and learn from their experiences.


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