Teachers, like other professionals like doctors, are expected to be completely error free. In the specific case of teachers, other professionals (either in the form of specialists or other teachers) or even parents, can come to judge very severely that a teacher is wrong, but we should not forget that the fact that this occur is absolutely normal and human. Perhaps it would be good for the sake of the students, rather than judging, to realize that it is wrong not to accept mistakes as commonplace and not to use them as part of life’s learning process.

This concept should be expanded and practiced more in schools, since normalizing errors allows creating a generalized atmosphere of trust and debate, with solid relationships between colleagues that favor free conversation about the problems that are created, and the possibility of requesting and receiving advice while some learn from others and vice versa. This way of acting allows the exchange of ideas, and that is always something enriching and much more for a space as important as the school.





How mistakes can change the world

A very important side effect of discussing mistakes is the possibility that personal perception of those mistakes may change, which not only benefits teachers but also students. And, when teachers learn from their mistakes, they are much closer to ensuring that students can learn from theirs.

Changing the perception of student mistakes is the next thing any teacher should focus on for improving learning, once they have passed that own process. But this is not happening, although it seems like something simple, and in the vast majority of classrooms, errors are evaluated as part of poor performance , which takes students away from the self-confidence and motivation necessary to improve and improve each day to themselves.

That is why this idea of associating errors with lack of work or performance is absurd, since it does not necessarily conform to reality and, in any case, it takes us away from the learning that makes mistakes in humans. Mistakes can be due to many causes, and to understand it better we just have to remember some of the most significant mistakes that as adults we have committed throughout our lives. It is usually common that the bigger a mistake, the more it allows the person to learn from it and gain life experience. Or is it that you don’t usually learn more from mistakes than from successes?

So the biggest problem for students is not that they make mistakes, but that teachers do not use those mistakes to further enable and promote learning . Let’s not forget that shame is, unfortunately, closely related to making a mistake or failing a test, and that is why students are increasingly afraid of taking risks, exploring and thinking for themselves.

It is a mistake to think that mistakes are a bad thing, because when mistakes become learning opportunities, everything can change for the better. Students will take more risks, will think differently, will not seek to hide in crowds, and will be able to face situations from which they may have fled before.



Things we can do to learn from mistakes

In the first place, the most important thing is to change that way of thinking that leads us to believe that making mistakes is a bad thing and that we are able to create evaluation processes, formal and informal, that accept mistakes as a new way of learning . Second, we can take note of the following considerations:


  • Give students the opportunity to correct their mistakes and redo their work. This will allow mistakes to become learning opportunities.
  • Improving must become a significant factor in the evaluation process. The more a student improves, the higher his grade will be, and nothing shows us better how to learn from mistakes than to improve.
  • When a student makes a mistake in class, don’t say things like “No, bad, can someone help you?” Don’t just call someone else without further comment. Instead, which only leads to ridicule, ask the student, “Why do you think that? Can you give an example? ” “If you could ask a question about your own answer, what would it be?”
  • Stop flagging errors in tests and documents without explaining why they are wrong. Give enough explanation on each test to help students understand what went wrong and how to fix it. A big red X is totally insufficient.


corregir errores


  • If a student needs help with an answer, let him choose a classmate to help him. You can set a name for these helpers, such as “personal consultants.”
  • Instead of creating walls full of student achievement in the classroom, have a wall where all students can boast of their greatest successes and mistakes, specifying, in the latter case, what are the good things they have learned from them.
  • Hold biweekly meetings where students share the biggest mistake they think they made and discuss what happened next and what they learned from it.
  • Make sure to share with the class some of your own mistakes, especially if they are funny, and everything you have learned from them. It is with that sincerity and with that example that the youngest will learn the most.


It would be nice to see signs at the entrance of classes or schools that say things like “Everyone who enters here will learn new and positive things.” But let us not forget as teachers that learning also means not being afraid to examine mistakes and that it is important to encourage students to think in ways that they can handle them and not avoid them, because avoiding them will not allow them to advance in learning. Learn from all this yourself so that you can also teach children how to learn from such possible mistakes, as well as how to improve, not feel ashamed and feel good about individual progress.



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