Starting each day with words of encouragement and positive affirmations can make a difference in a person's attitude and self-confidence . Hearing phrases such as, “You are smart”, “You are friendly”, “You can do anything you set your mind to” can bring upon a smile and generates a person to feel amazing from the inside out.
What a child hears is often embedded in them from the very beginning. Hearing positive thoughts can truly make a difference in the way someone performs a task or how they feel.
With any grade level I have taught, the methods used for correcting mistakes are essentially the same. I use a ticket system to encourage students to participate in all class activities. Students earn tickets for a variety of reasons, but the best aspect is earning tickets for just trying. Sharing a comment, answering a question or performing a task on the board; right or wrong, students are praised for trying. If a mistake is made, as the teacher I may guide a student to the correct answer, allow other students to help, or signal the student to allow for self-correction. Praise is given to any student who puts forth his/her best effort.
Here are some methods you can use to correct mistakes.
Know when and how to correct a mistake
You never want to embarrass a child for making a mistake. Children rely on you to make them feel safe, loved, and free to take risks. Building that trust between student and teacher is critical for success. If a child makes a mistake during a lesson, take time during independent practice to work with the child and help correct the mistake. Whether the fault is academic performance or behavioral, provide guidance so the child can understand the mistake and know how to perform the task correctly. You can pull the child aside during a break or the end of the day to discuss what needs to be corrected.
When making a correction, keep your comments and actions positive. You want the child to learn from his or her mistake while continuing to build self-confidence. Negative comments will make a child feel worthless and may give up trying altogether. Some phrases I have used in my classroom are, “You’re almost there, keep trying”, “That is a great answer, but think about…..”,”I like how you are using your strategies, but if you try…...you can make it better.”
If a student makes a mistake, they could have made a simple slip-up. Coming up with correction signals with your students can allow you to make the correction that a student will recognize and may quickly realize the mistake. Students will often correct themselves with little guidance from the teacher. That type of self-correction will build up self-esteem and more trust with the teacher. Some signals could be, raising and eyebrow, point at the paper or board for the student to look again, restate the question, or give a slight clue using a resource in the classroom.
This is one of my favorite ways of correction because children are likely to listen to one another. They hear it with a different perspective in a more relatable voice. If a child is unable to self-correct, another student can offer a clue and share the correct answer. The class can also answer as a chorale response and then repeated for all students to hear and understand. Students can also review each other's work.
During my reading groups last week, the students were recording details from the story. We discussed as a group how to find the details and correctly write them. We then shared our responses and a student noticed a mistake on his friends paper. He pointed the paper and said , “That looks good but did you mean to write……?” The other child responded with, “Oh yes, thanks.” The correction was made and both children were happy.
Individual correction or whole group correction
There are times when an individual child may be struggling with an academic concept or behavior. Address that child one-on-one during the lesson or pull aside to work on the concept together at a later time. Children often want to work at the same pace as their peers. Immediate individual correction or even using a peer’s work, can provide a quick modification with an example
If you notice several students making mistakes, take a “time out”. Addressing the class as a whole to reteach or provide additional examples may be beneficial. You will save yourself more time and energy by stepping back and thinking about why and how the mistakes are being made. Have the class help make the corrections together to provide additional practice and alleviate more mistakes.
Regardless the grade you teach, there will be times students need to be corrected to allow them to learn from their mistakes and properly complete a task. There are a variety of ways to correct mistakes, but keep in mind to remain positive.