July 19, 2022
I think the only thing I see my students dread more than school is getting negative feedback or in trouble for mistakes. And I can’t blame them.
I’ve been that teacher and parent that harped on the mistakes, ranting and making a big deal of it. It made them afraid to talk to me and afraid to take a chance on new things for fear of failure.
I do this to myself, too. And that negativity doesn’t do me any good as an adult, either.
I endured this negativity growing up and it taught me to take the easy road to a guaranteed success. It took me a long time in life to be willing to take risks and learn from failure.
Mistakes will happen, errors will be made, wrong answers will be given–the world will go on.
And, in true Thomas Edison fashion, that lesson is learning a way NOT to do something, and that knowledge is gold.
So, how can we use mistakes and wrong answers to help with growth and remove fear of failure or talking about it? By changing the dialogue we have with them, and with ourselves.
Whenever I talk to students that fail an assignment or go too long without working, I reassure them. I remind them that neither of us has a time machine, so let’s focus on what we should be doing now, and next to keep it from repeating, and learn from the mistake. Then we have a conversation about what that looks like. It could be helping them make a schedule, plan out steps, or talk about why an answer was wrong.
I start by asking questions of their plan or their ideas and don’t immediately try to solve the problem for them. They need to think and strategize. But if it’s an I don’t know or their plan isn’t clear and specific, or may not lead to success, I give feedback. But it is a conversation focused on the positive and helping them grow. Then I repeat it and TEXT IT TO THEM so they have it written down. We then schedule follow up time to check in within a week or two.
THAT is what we need to do for our children, as both parents and teachers.
This is also what we need to do for ourselves as successful adults.
How can you change the dialogue of conversations you are having to turn negatives into positives?
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