It really breaks my heart when I see a child think that just because they don’t understand a task, or just because they make a mistake, then they are stupid and will never move forward. In a world where we are surrounded by “perfect” people, and where we hear lots of stories about success and only a few about the mistakes that were made, I guess it is an easy conclusion to jump to.
Every time I see a child like this, I always remind them of one thing. If you try, you will achieve everything that YOU are capable of.
A mistake is just that, a mistake. It doesn’t tell the world that you will fail at the next topic, it doesn’t tell the world that you are the rotten egg in the carton. It tells the world that you are perfect the way you are, and that you are LEARNING. That you are TRYING. That you are SUCCEEDING in learning the skill.
The only way is up! A mistake in education shows us where we may need to revise, or practice a little more. It is a reminder that we all need to constantly have our minds open, and that we all learn differently from one another.
With all the hype surrounding NAPLAN this week, it is a timely discussion. Results don’t even begin to show how much a child already knows. The results only demonstrate how the child went on ONE day, at a PARTICULAR time, in a PREDETERMINED week. It doesn’t matter how much a child can retain, or how much they practiced, or how hard they tried. If you are not feeling the greatest, or something has happened at home, or it’s windy, or cold, or hot, then your results will reflect this. The results don’t take into account that many children don’t perform well under pressure. The results don’t show how talented your child may be in another area of learning. The results don’t show how much your child will develop between now and Christmas.
Try and try and try as hard as you can. The results may take a while to show, but in the end remember that “mistakes are proof that you are trying.” No one ever stopped learning because they tried. They stopped learning because they believed they were not capable of mastering a skill. And no one will ever “master” a skill, there is always area for improvement and revision.