Monday, May 16, 2016

3 Reasons Why Mistakes Are Actually Good

Yesterday, there was a mix up about the #ELLEdTEch Twitter chat.  I thought it was scheduled for May 15th but my co-host Laurah had it down for May 22nd.  The month of May started on Sunday the 1st so the third Sunday came sooner than expected.  I sincerely apologize for the confusion.  The chat has been rescheduled for next Sunday, May 22nd.  You can read more about it in my previous post, which is where the topic and questions are posted.

I’d like to devote the rest of today’s blog post to mistakes and what we can learn from making them.  English Language Learners are often anxious in class because they are afraid of making a mistake and possibly being laughed at as a result.  But I always told my students that mistakes are good.  Here’s why:
A scheduling mix-up prompts the author to reflect on why students shouldn't be embarrassed about making a mistake.
One road to success; source: The ESL Nexus
1) Mistakes show that you are trying new things.
If you make a mistake, chances are you are doing something that is new for you.  You may be trying to use a new word or solve a problem using a new method or build something for the first time.  If you never try to do something new, you will never learn anything new.

2) Making a mistake means you want to learn and develop your skills.
The adage practice makes perfect applies perfectly here.  When you try something new and it doesn’t work out, you can analyze what went wrong and then apply that knowledge the next time you attempt to do whatever it is you want to do.  The more you do something, the better you will be at doing it.

3) Mistakes develop "grit."
I am getting a little tired of seeing this new buzzword everywhere but there is definitely more than a grain of truth to the concept.  If you make a mistake and figure out why it went wrong, then you have a choice: Try it again and see if you do it right the second time or give up and forget about it.  If you try again and persevere until you get it right, you are developing your analytical skills, your ability to problem-solve, and your capacity to engage with a task for an extended period of time.  You also get the satisfaction of knowing you were able to ultimately overcome something that had previously given you difficulty.

So what did I learn from our scheduling mistake?  Well, facilitating a Twitter chat is something new for me and I learned that I need to communicate better with my co-host to avoid mistakes like this in the future.  Am I going to stop co-hosting the chat because something went wrong yesterday?  Of course not!  I’m embarrassed but I tweeted my apologies and I hope my followers and others who wanted to participate will understand.  I will continue to co-host the chat—next week and the 3rd Sunday in the months to come—because I enjoy the interaction with other educators and I learn a lot from the chats about using technology with ELLs.
Use hashtag #ELLEdTech to discuss using tech tools for assessment with ELLs
New date, same time!
I hope you’ll join us next Sunday!