05 Sep

Risky Business

I read this article about creating a classroom culture of academic risk-taking.  It all seemed to click in my head.  Of course kids need to be taught to take risks.  Taking risks means not being afraid to make mistakes or to fail.  And mistakes and failure are a necessary part of learning.  So duh!  I need to get on this.

Interestingly, earlier this week, when we were developing a list of things we should do during number talks, one kid said that we shouldn’t be afraid of mistakes.  She had it even before I did.

That said, I was being dumb in how I taught my kids a particular concept.  It’s pretty complicated to explain and not really that important.  The bottom line is… I made a mistake.  At the expense of my students.  I realized it last night, and I fretted how I was going to change directions today.

And then I realized… I took a risk, and it didn’t work.  And if I want my kids to do that same thing, I need to lead by example.  So I stood up in front of my kids, and I admitted my mistake.  I apologized, and I explained how we would move forward.  And I was embarrassed, because it was an embarrassing mistake.  But I’m glad I did it.  Because that mistake was evidence of my learning.

I must have said it a thousand times today, but…

It’s not a problem if you make a mistake; it’s only a problem if you don’t learn from it.

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