March 1

March: Mistakes are Opportunities for Learning

As a perfectionist who struggles with self-esteem and self-confidence, I really struggle with allowing myself the permission to make a mistake and learn from it- however I have definitely made many mistakes in both my parenting and teaching journeys. I am always seeking the approval and reassurance of others to make sure that I am doing a good job. This is something that I am working on. I know that I am not there yet, but I feel that I am getting better.

Einstein was an amazing man, as we all know, but I had no idea what a strong growth mindset he had! I would love to put up his quotes on failure around my house-or at least in my son’s bedroom! He struggles with making mistakes, calling himself dumb or saying that he can’t do something. “It’s too hard” is something that we hear quite frequently. I have been working hard at changing this for him-reminding him that making mistakes is the only way he will learn anything. I think that this is finally starting to sink in with him a bit. I heard him tell his younger brother, who was getting frustrated with his attempts at making a car out of “magnetics,” that it was ok, he needed to calm down and just try again. He offered his little brother some help and together, they created a car that hey could both be proud of. I smiled so widely when I heard that! Now to hear him have this growth mindset when it comes to his school work 🙂

I like the three-step strategy for mistakes outlined on page 147

  1.       Normalize mistakes- kids do need to know that mistakes are part of the learning process and that without them, we are not learning anything at all. This may help them learn to take more risks, knowing that making mistakes is just going to be a part of the process.
  2. Value mistakes as learning opportunities-giving them the knowledge that it is not easy to learn new things,but the more we try and figure things out, the more we learn.
  3. Coach students through setbacks-this will be so important for kids. We, as teachers and parents, need to remember that they do not simply know how to deal with the setback caused by the mistake. Mistakes are very disheartening for some students and having the right strategies to deal with this makes it easier for them to navigate these difficult feelings.


The strategies listed on pages 153-155 are super helpful as well. They are often quite easy and fit in with the idea of UDL.



How do you support your students through setbacks caused by mistakes?

What stood out for you in this chapter? How can this be put in to your practice or daily life?