Why are Mistakes Wonderful?

Please view the original article here. 

What does it mean to focus on grit? This term is new to me, but the word has so much meaning behind it. It speaks to the ideas of letting students struggle through problems, letting them ask a million questions, allowing them to make mistakes, and as the article states, ” letting kids hit the wall”.

Why is grit important? It develops reasonable risk taking. It shows students that failures are an important and critical part of learning.

Introducing grit into a classroom must accompany a change of mindset for the teacher, students and parents. Teachers must resist giving hints, must learn to focus their questioning around the process, not the product, and most importantly, they must change their assessment to match. Teachers must be able to convince students and parents that grit pays off. The power to think, reason and get gritty with problems is rewarding.

The secret to success is failure. The idea of grit connects to so many hot topics in education right now and one thing that comes to my mind is standardize testing. Is standardize testing the way to develop reasoning skills, when the search for the “right answer” affects a students grade? What do you think?

The article also talks about the problem with teaching to multiple intelligence. It is my firm belief that students prefer to learn one or two different ways, but it is to their benefit that they learn in all ways. Students should not always be taught to their specific multiple intelligence. Spatial learners can learn visually too (lessons should attempt to include many styles of learning anyway). I believe that part of developing grit, is asking students to work through problems that stretch them in all areas, not just the learning style that they prefer. What do you believe about learning styles?

“Got Grit” is a new concept for me, but it makes sense. I want my students to be able to think and develop their minds in my classroom, and grit plays a role in that. How do you incorporate grit into your class?


6 responses to “Why are Mistakes Wonderful?

  1. Thanks for the post Randi! I agree that each student has their own learning style(s), but it is important for us to teach a variety of ways to reach the needs of all students. This also expands their way of thinking. Making mistakes is super important as it is part of the learning process, and students will learn from their mistakes. They must be able to think critically about what they could do differently. I have not heard much about the “Got Grit” concept but will have to look into it!

  2. I really like that phrase, “Got Grit” because there are so many times when students will give in, and not battle through their own learning. I find that in my experiences in the classroom, I ask questions to students, but never quite give them the answer because I want them to work through the problem and come to their own conclusion. I also love that quote by Thomas Edison, such an optimistic point of view, and something I hope to strive closer to in my own teaching and learning. Very thought provoking post, Randi!

  3. Pingback: Learning to Embrace Mistakes in the Classroom | Chris Brennan

  4. Your initial points about failure being an important part of learning to succeed really resonated with me. I just finished coaching the basketball team at the school I interned at and we had a very strong team. We easily could have won the city finals but ended up losing to a weaker team during playoffs. Although it was disappointing I felt like the lesson the girls learned was greater then if we would have won. The girls realized that not everything would come easy to them and that failing is part of life. I am hoping this experience made them realize that they need to work for what they want to achieve and not just assume it will happen.

    As for learning styles I think that students can learn in every style and this will only benefit them as not everything will be accommodated to their preferred style in life. Thanks for sharing this thought provoking article Randi!

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