One of the things I love to do whenever I work with a group of students is create a culture where mistakes are highly valued.
I begin by sharing the research from neuroscientists which provides clear evidence that our brains are more active when we make a mistake compared to when we answer correctly.
In the research, scientists agree that the neural pathways are being strengthened when a mistake is made.
The MRI scans of participants brains literally lit up when they made mistakes.
I want the students in my class to not be afraid or embarrassed by mistakes.
In fact I want them to value mistakes!
So much so that when a student comes to me and they have everything correct, I congratulate them, but make a point of apologising (loudly so the class can hear).
I apologise because the work I set them did not allow them to learn anything new in that lesson.
Because when you get everything correct... you are not learning anything you didn't already know...
This simple act of apologising, really changes the way students approach their maths...
I find before long they are asking for challenges... they want to grow their brain...
Another way I foster a love of mistakes in my class is reading and discussing some of these fantastic picture story books:
The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes by Mark Pett
Mistakes That Worked by Charlotte Jones
The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
All of these books are a great way to encourage your class to change the way mistakes are viewed.
I encourage you this week to apologise to one of your students when they get everything correct in a lesson- see what the reaction is!