Learning from Our Mistakes

Learning from Our Mistakes

pencilStudents learn from their mistakes, they say.

I agree. They learn something. But often what they are learning is not what the teacher thinks she is teaching.

M. Moriarty said it well in a comment on an earlier post:

To this day I cannot bear a red pen… it signals math failure to me – and try as I might – I never did learn from my many many mistakes in grade school math – what I learned was that I wasn’t very good at math and that after a while it really wasn’t any use to try…. Continue reading

Frustrated

Frustrated

Plutchik-wheel

When a feeling is not a feeling…

I don’t trust words that end in “-ed” when they are used to describe emotions.

Take “loved” for example, as in “I feel loved.” Well, no, “loved” is not a feeling. That sentence really means that you have noticed that someone loves you. What you feel is another thing. You may feel happy, joyful, ecstatic; you may feel love in return for the person who loves you.

On the other hand, if the person who loves you is a spouse that you want to divorce, you may feel guilty, sad, impatient, angry…. If the person who says “I love you,” is stalking you, you may be afraid, angry, anxious, curious…. Continue reading

Who’s Engaged Here?

Who’s Engaged Here?

When I help students see and articulate what they do know, they may notice areas where they have trouble. For example, someone may say, “I make most of my mistakes when the denominators are different,” or “I get mixed up because I don’t know when to double the letter if I’m adding ‘ing.’”

When a student notices where he makes errors, that is a big step, a huge leap forward in learning.  But it is quite different from me telling him where he needs help. When he analyzes his work and notices the patterns of errors he makes, it is a sign that he is fully engaged in the process, and has taken control of his learning.

When I analyze his work and point out the pattern of his errors to him, it is a sign that I am fully engaged in the process, but he may or may not be paying attention. (from Marking for Confidence)

Bernice Shows the Way

Bernice Shows the Way

I remember the moment that I began to mark for confidence. It was Bernice who got me started.

The class was finishing up their writing, and putting it into the envelope that went upstairs to the secretary to be typed so that everyone could have a copy of everyone else’s stories. I tried to catch people as they finished up their work, to do a final proofread with them.

On that day, Bernice strode purposefully up to the envelope hanging behind me. Continue reading

The Poster Explained

The Poster Explained

Evelyn brought me up sharply with her comment on my last post. She wrote, “…Talk about intimidating! I’ve read it a number of times now and still have to work my way through it to get the meaning! What do you like about it?”

I don’t mind being brought up sharply. It makes me think—and write. Still, after two recent posts people have asked for clarification. Maybe I should learn something from this… Continue reading

Nascent Deftness

Nascent Deftness

I’ve had this poster up on my wall (and engraved in my mind) for years. (Click here for a pdf.) It has inspired me and guided my teaching.

The words are from an article called “A brief summary of the best practices in teaching intended to challenge the professional development of all teachers,” by T. Drummond.  The design is mine.

Reaction and more explanation of why I like this poster.