Math Musings

Why I Don’t Scold My Students When They Make Mistakes

by | May 14, 2020 | Video

One thing I do not do as a teacher is to put a student down when he or she makes mistakes.

It’s not uncommon for me to tell my class, ”Do your homework. It’s ok if you don’t get them right but never leave any of your answers blank”.

I don’t scold my students when they make mistakes. Why?

No 1- Scolding damages a student’s self-confidence

There is more negative impact than positive if we scold students each time they make mistakes. Over time, they will develop the fear of trying. When this happens, learning stops, which is unfortunate.

No 2 – In order for students to learn from their mistakes, they must be allowed to make them!

Unlike others who punish students for mistakes, I embrace them instead. I will say… “Ah, this is a good example of a common mistake. Let’s share this with the rest of the class”.

The purpose is to allow everyone to study what went wrong so that it becomes an opportunity to learn. Discussing the mistakes helps students remember better rather than just giving them the correct answers to memorise.

No 3 – Mistakes allow me to analyse my students’ gaps

What kind of mistakes are they? Are the mistakes careless calculation errors or conceptual errors? I like to know what my students do not know or what confuses them. This helps me to better understand their learning potential so that I can help them better.

No 4 – Build positive relationship with students

And finally, by not scolding my students, this helps me build positive relationship with them. They are not afraid to ask questions when unsure. And most importantly, not give up easily even when they make mistakes.

The conclusion is that mistakes can be so powerfully good if we focus on the positive side to learn from them. That’s why I don’t scold my students when they make mistakes.

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