What makes my classrooms distinctly mine

Mistakes. Both my students and I make tons of them (who doesn’t, anyway?). Our agreement, however, is that no embarassement is due if one can replace their mistake with a good answer.

I sometimes feel really proud of this climate, which I seem to be able to produce systematically. Other times, instead, I fall into despair because I’m scared I’m spoiling my students: after all they are good at struggling to find a better answer but they don’t seem to be as good at finding out their own mistakes.

What is your experience in this matter?

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11 risposte a What makes my classrooms distinctly mine

  1. mrscoxey ha detto:

    I did an activity with my students called my favorite no. I had done an exit ticket the day before and I took the ones that were wrong and re-wrote them into a worksheet. Students had to not only correctly solve the problem, but EXPLAIN what error the student who had originally solved it made in solving it. It was a great activity and all the other math teachers in my building used it too.

  2. Chris Smith ha detto:

    First, thanks for the post.
    Second, I have nooooo idea how to pronounce your name 🙂
    Third, I am sort of stubborn and don’t like making mistakes so I probably don’t embrace (as much as I should) that culture of celebrating mistakes as a path to success…despite such a fine pedigree of examples in the history of Maths and Science to convince me that I need to refine this.
    Keep up the good work!

    • Hi Chris, I know you are right: mistakes make things confusing, need to be explained and mine students trust. But what can one do once the mistake is done? I can only see that you must make the best of it. Thanks for your comment: it will induce me to try harder on exactness, francesca
      P.S.you pronounce “ces” in my name like “che” in cherry 🙂

  3. odenalafreniere ha detto:

    That has been on my mind lately too. I titled my blog: Learning Math is Messy, because we all make so many mistakes. The kids keep asking me if I have white-out and I tell them that, “learning math is messy, just cross it out and write your new answer”.

  4. Leah Segal ha detto:

    Hi Francesca, I think that helping students feel comfortable with their mistakes is definitely a positive aspect of your classroom. Have you seen this research? http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-science-willpower/201112/how-mistakes-can-make-you-smarter

    Helping students get good at finding their own mistakes is difficult. Have you tried:
    1. Giving them a problem that was solved incorrectly and asking them to find the mistake?
    2. Giving them a problem where they can check their own work so they can tell whether their answer is right or not and perhaps be motivated to find their mistake.

  5. wwndtd ha detto:

    Studiavo a Firenze qual anni fa (and my Italian is pretty bad now, right?)

    Mistakes are fantastic things because they can be fixed. And it’s so important for students to know that they have the option (and even the right!) to fix them without penalty. My policy is that I mark incorrect problems, but don’t say how to fix them. Students can change answers with explanation of why and how it’s now correct for full credit. I tell them that I don’t care how long it takes for them to understand a concept as long as they get it sometime.

    Grazie mille!


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