As a teacher you probably already know that when your students believe that they can succeed at something if they try hard enough, they will use mistakes as a learning moment and become persistent problem solvers. Part of being a great teacher is to teach children that learning is hard work.
Now there is research to back up the wisdom of “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.”
Researchers found that explicitly telling children that failure is a normal part of learning led to a more can-do attitude and greater success in problem solving when faced with a difficult task. “Helping children to interpret difficulty . . . as [a normal part of learning], improved their performance on very demanding and difficult tasks and reduced their feelings of incompetence.”
My friend Nan requires her fifth graders to analyze the exercises they got wrong on classwork or homework and figure out the correct answer before they get to sign off on the assignment. This procedure helps children dig into the work at hand, learn about themselves as learners, identify misconceptions, and build the confidence that comes from a job well done.
Of course, as a teacher, you already know this. Pass it on! Share the article with the families of your students. Let’s all be smart about educating the next generation.