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Jan09

The Importance of Learning from Mistakes

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learning from mistakes

Nowadays, mistakes are not accepted easily and are occasionally over penalized. Sometimes school assessments focus more on failures than on learning. I see it often with some children. The fear of making a mistake paralyzes them so much that they avoid participating in class for fear of making a mistake. 

Despite phrases like ”we learn from our mistakes”, ”fall twice, get up three times”, and knowing that life and science happen through trial and error – we still do not accept our mistakes easily. There is no culture of reviewing that error and extracting what can be learned from that experience.

We find it difficult to learn from mistakes and it happens in everyday life. Sometimes we even get used to making the same mistake over and over again without learning from it. Nowadays, many companies and entrepreneurs ask how many times an applicant has failed in a company before hiring them to ensure that they won’t make the same mistakes again.

The measure of perfection in learning is fiction. Therefore it is important to value the mistakes we make when we are learning. And instead of punishing or penalizing ourselves, taking what can be learned from it. We can minimize children’s frustration when faced with a major challenge and reinforce the possibility that they should continue to try and not give up. It’s important that they know with persistence, you can achieve anything without it affecting your self-esteem since it has nothing to do with who you are, but rather what you do. It is important that we do not identify with the error because being and doing are two different things.

Some things to keep in mind to learn from mistakes
  • Relativize the dimension of error. Time changes our perspective on what that mistake was. 
  • Accept that we are imperfect and need to repeat and practice to learn
  • Keep the 4×1 rule in mind. The rule states we need four times more positive reinforcement when we make a mistake than when we are successful. We tend to punish ourselves much more when we fail than congratulate ourselves when we succeed. 
  • Learning from history: Even geniuses make mistakes! Some of the greatest scientific discoveries happened by accident. Scientists also need to practice before they get what they had set out to do.

At Smartick, we value successes as well as mistakes because we know that both of them are an essential part of learning. After finishing each exercise we give immediate feedback and encourage children to correct their mistakes at the end of every session.  

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