Everyday I get different kinds of conversation with the children in my class. Some sounds silly at times but trust me, they all make perfect sense. Often, it makes me wonder and question: What on earth am I teaching them?! Where do they get these ideas?! – from me.
A couple of days ago while working with the children, there’s this one comment that strike me the most. I asked my student to copy the date on his worksheet before we start to do some work. While he was copy writing, he accidentally wrote the letter /p/ the other way around. He was being observant and noticed that it was facing the wrong way so he took the eraser and fixed it. While he was correcting his work he suddenly told me: “It’s okay, right Ysa? I’m learning. I made a mistake so I erase it and make it right. That means I’m learning. Right?” – What just happened there?!
I was really surprised. It took me a couple of seconds before I was able to respond and all I could say was “Yes of course! You are always learning.” Surely I could have done better than that BUT that was all I can say at that moment. I wasn’t prepared to hear that kind of “realization” from a 4 year old.
He actually said that twice while we were doing the activity. So the second time I asked him: “That’s very nice, where did you learn that?” and he said “from no one and from you. Remember you always say its okay to make mistakes? So, this is okay.”
I usually allow mistakes in the classroom. Because it is always a good source of learning especially when you work with children. Even the simplest form of error can already teach them a lot – provided that you explain to them what went wrong and you involve them in problem solving. Children will always need explanation. So when you just tell them “you’re wrong” (that’s very harsh by the way) or “that’s wrong” without telling them why, it will not help them understand the world.
I don’t know if he has any idea of what he just said, but it gave me my “proud teacher moment” when he said that. Yes my dear, you are allowed to make mistakes and make it right the next time. That’s how you learn. 🙂