Digital Project Review: Learning from Mistakes

Jennifer Aarestad’s digital project on learning from mistakes as an instructional strategy provided strong support for this tool.

In order for us to learn from our mistakes, we need to change the way we think about mistakes.  We need to think about them rationally rather than emotionally.

Instructors role:

  • Recognize effort as success.
  • Be open about your own mistakes.
  • Encourage a non-judgmental atmosphere.
  • When students make mistakes, ask why and how they made the decisions they made in order to figure out how to move forward.
  • Encourage collaboration.  Learn from the mistakes of others.
  • Teach and model responsibility.
  • Promote deliberate practice to develop further learning.

Learners role:

  • Recognize that there is much to learn and ways to improve.
  • Have a growth mindset- belief that we can all improve and develop skills and abilities.
  • Accept responsibility and be accountable.

I liked the digital format of the Prezi and how the big picture was always present, and the presentation zoomed in to the various components. The message was very clear and well organized.

Easwari Thoreraj’s digital project also discussed learning from mistakes, and it introduced some additional information.

Many learners view their mistakes with negative emotions such as shame, unacceptance, sadness, and disbelief.  The human mind sees mistakes as pain.  Instructors must introduce the perspective of embracing mistakes.

I haven’t failed.  I’ve just found 10 000 ways that won’t work.     Thomas Edison

Ways to teach with mistakes:

  1. Have open discussions about mistakes.
  2. Acknowledge common mistakes, reflect on them and learn from them, thereby promoting an ‘I can fix it’ attitude.
  3. Allow learners the opportunity to make corrections to their mistakes before it is too late.
  4. Self-assessment is a great tool for placing the responsibility of learning on the learner.

Incorporating this strategy in the Speechreading class makes a lot of sense.  I plan to introduce a topic actually called ‘Learning from Mistakes’.  An important component of the Speechreading classes is learning how to both anticipate and repair miscommunications.  I like the idea of celebrating the biggest mistake and what was learned from it.  We already share experiences, but I now appreciate the benefit of calling a spade a spade.  The students often speak about ‘mistakes’ and times when they ‘did the wrong thing’ or ‘didn’t do anything, but wished they did’.  Let’s call it a mistake and turn the table on focusing on what was learned and what they would do differently next time.  Sharing these experiences is also vital.  The frustrations experienced by those with hearing loss is common.  Let’s explicitly share those frustrations, failures (and successes), and learn from everyone’s stories.  This is also an important concept to introduce so that the students continue to see their mistakes as positive opportunities as they carry on their journey of life-long learning and living with hearing loss.

This is such a perfect instructional strategy for the Speechreading class.  Don’t be greedy!  Share!  We can all benefit from sharing and learning from each other’s mistakes.


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