- Mistakes can be good starting points to help students learn how to embrace missteps and build from them as stepping stones to become more resilient.
- However, Horacio Sanchez, president and CEO of learning science consultancy firm Resiliency Inc., says people mislabel the idea of resilience when they define it as grit or the perseverance to keep going. Instead, to help students continue to move forward, educators need to build strategies that allow pupils to succeed.
- “Mistakes are perfectly good and logical and correct for kids who are good at something,” said Sanchez, a former educator, administrator, clinician and mental health director. “Mistakes are great for those who have fortitude, but not necessarily for kids who don’t.”
To help students continue to want to learn, Sanchez said, they need to feel a sense of achievement throughout the process. Exposing students to a pattern where they continuously fail at a task or make repeated mistakes is a method that can result in losing students.
The author of “The Education Revolution” noted that most students will have some academic success in some areas and feel challenged in others. Sometimes, if students feel they can't move forward with a concept, they may withdraw, quit or grow quiet.
This reaction may happen when students experience the feeling of failure. “Mistakes are just another validation they can’t do it,” Sanchez said.
To address this, he suggests building review sessions that occur in small “bursts” and are repeated. In that way, students can gain a chance to catch up. Sanchez also suggests that educators develop levels of a challenge tailored to pupils to create what he calls a “sequence of success” that encourages students to continue.
He likens this to video game design, which challenges players as they move through an adventure while rewarding them with small victories. These small successes can potentially help students develop self-motivational skills, Sanchez said.
“You have to figure out a level of challenge good enough for students that encourages them,” Sanchez said.