Is your child making a lot of mistakes? Good!


As parents and teachers, it is understandable that we sometimes wish to shield children from the unpleasant feelings associated with getting things wrong. However, research shows that learning is actually enhanced when students are encouraged to make mistakes!


Research by Nate Kornell, Matthew Hays and Robert Bjork (UCLA) has found that learning becomes better if conditions are arranged so that students make errors. It showed that we remember things better, and for longer, if we are given very challenging tests on any given material. The series of experiments that made up the research showed that when students that make an unsuccessful attempt to retrieve information before receiving an answer, they remember material better than students who just study the information. Put simply, trying and failing is actually helpful for learning.


A way to utilise these findings is to teach your child that mistakes are part of the learning process. It is important to applaud your child’s efforts rather than their results. Research by Carol Dweck, a professor at Stamford, shows that praising a child for their intelligence can actually make them less likely to persist in the face of challenge. On the other hand, praising children for their effort, even if they are making mistakes, increases their work rate by up to 30%!


Giving meaningful praise to your children will motivate them to learn from their mistakes and help develop their character strengths, instilling a sense of resilience that will benefit them greatly. It is for this reason that we ensure students spend part of every Saturday Class correcting their work and talking through any mistakes they might have made in the previous weeks class/homework.


It is also why we dedicate our April Course to the theme: Can You Try? The week is focused on building your child’s confidence when facing new challenges. It will encourage them to persevere through difficult tasks and help them harness a positive attitude in regards to solving problems. We consider perseverance as a key character trait that will set your child up for the year ahead and benefit them for a lifetime.


If we want the best for our children and students, we must teach them that it is okay to make mistake and that we must accept errors as part of learning and part of life.