History/social sciences/domestic science/RE
Telling about learning from mistakes and ‘definitions bingo’ had a positive effect on students’ self-efficacy. The game gave everyone an equal chance of winning. Students are finding it easier to ask questions as they are now ok with making mistakes in front of the class.
Giving only task related praise has led to students opening up about their mistakes.
I use ‘lesson up’ (a revision exercise)as an online tool to give instructions. You can also let students answer open or closed questions. I used to only talk about the correct answers during lessons, but now I focus also on wrong answers and talk about what we can learn from their mistakes.
There is more openness and less fear of making mistakes, as they now see mistakes as opportunities to learn.
English/French/German/Dutch and maths
Normalising error had led to students being more eager to talk in class. Getting them to discuss their mistakes helps them find out what they had done wrong.
When assessing an assignment they also get feedback on their interaction with others for group tasks. They are more enthusiastic to use English as their confidence is boosted.
In one class students had made a poster about someone they view as a symbol of concentration, for example. This was something they could relate to.
Louis van Gaal is a Dutch football coach who is not very good at English. However, he is never unafraid to speak, and makes errors constantly. In his own way he is a perfect example for students of how to make errors flawlessly!
All teachers were now on the move giving task related feedback or praise, focusing on successes and improvements. This means students are improving their work on the spot which gives them a better sense of achievement. They are taking more responsibility for their learning and more students are choosing to attend lessons.
Teachers were still in the process of including mistakes to be analysed by students. They are finding that enjoying the process and allowing themselves to make mistakes results in them gaining more confidence and less fear of failure.
One teacher created a ‘movers and blockers’ poster with the students which gave them more ownership, because students now had some of the control.
All teachers had normalised error through various strategies:
- Groups of 4 to look at all the mistakes (anonymous) which the teacher had collected up. Their discussions were lively and they grew in confidence at spotting mistakes.
- Deliberately making mistakes in spoken English for them to spot. This helped them realise that it’s easy to make mistakes.
- Starting the lesson with a mistake for them to discuss led to less fear of failure.
- Letting the students grade the teacher’s own written work (with deliberate mistakes).
I collected all their mistakes and put them into one document for the class to look at. In groups of 3 or 4 they had to find the mistakes and correct them. One girl mentioned that she had made a lot of the mistakes and at first she was scared to admit to that. By the end I asked the class how they felt about the assignment. They felt more sure about knowing their mistakes and the girl knew what she hd done wrong and could correct her mistakes with the help of her group. She felt more confident and was happy that she could own up to her mistakes.
All teachers had normalised error by complimenting students on their mistakes, saying this will help you learn. Old errors were used as examples to discuss.
Students are asking more questions but there was not yet a noticeable change in their attitude to getting the right answer.
One teacher had focused more on the process of learning than the end result and another had used the phrase ‘You don’t know it yet’.