Not sure how the Discovery Family Program works?
GOAL: Helping kids see the good side of getting things wrong and learning from mistakes.
Identify a time when mistakes were made and explore what was learned from it, or what could be learned from it.
Praise children for their ability to admit their mistakes
Throughout the discussion, and throughout life, provide examples of your own mistakes, the consequences, and how you learned from them.
Avoid pointing out your child’s past mistakes. Instead, assure them you will be there to focus on the solution and help each other through whatever consequences it brings.
Praise children for their efforts and courage to overcome setbacks.
Mentor your child on how to apologize when their mistakes have hurt others.
Help kids look at the good side of getting things wrong!
Provide positive words of encouragement during difficult learning challenges.
For this adventure gather the family around and brainstorm things you have learned from experiences that 'went wrong'! Here are some ideas on how to get the discussion going:
Give each family member a notepad and take 5-10 minutes to let everyone brainstorm some lessons they have learned from previous mistakes. Then let each family member share what they came up with and discuss it.
Put poster board on the wall and brainstorm together as a family different lessons that have been learned from mistakes, and discuss it.
Write or print off the following statements, have family members each choose one, and then discuss each of them. Let family members share examples from their lives - whether it's their own experience or examples they have seen - that demonstrate the concept they drew.
❏ No one is expected to be perfect!
❏ Love in our family is unconditional, regardless of mistakes or lapses in judgment, we still love each other.
❏ We won’t rescue each other from mistakes. Instead, we'll focus together on the solution.
❏ It's important for each of us to take responsibility for our mistakes and not blame others.
❏ We will help each other look at the good side of getting things wrong! Together we can learn and grow together.
Learning from mistakes and errors is an important part of child and adolescent development. Most adults understand this concept. Yet, we have failed to teach our children that there is a positive side to getting things wrong.
Many children grow up in a society that pressures them to be perfect – to get the highest SAT scores, to land prized scholarships, to get into the best universities. Parents correct or complete children’s homework to improve their grades. They argue with teachers who try to point out a child’s areas of weakness that need improvement.
How does all this focus on testing and perfection affect kids’ learning? And how can we help them understand that learning from mistakes is part of healthy development?
Why is it Important to Learn from Mistakes?
Whether doing homework, developing friendships, or playing sports, learning can be enriched through error. In fact, learning from mistakes is part of how we challenge ourselves to learn to do things differently. It motivates us to try new, innovative approaches to problem-solving. Throughout a lifetime, learning from mistakes helps develop wisdom and good judgment.
In the Scientific American article, Getting it Wrong: Surprising Tips on How to Learn, research makes the case for more challenging tests that force kids to make errors. Historically, educators have created conditions for learning that do not encourage errors. And parents have followed suit. For example, if we drill children over and over again with the same math problem, they will eventually remember the answer. And if they are lucky, they will remember the answer on a standardized test.
This approach to learning assumes that if students are allowed to make mistakes, they will not learn the correct information. However, recent research shows this to be an incorrect assumption. In fact, studies have found that learning from mistakes enhances rather than detracts from learning.
Learning from Mistakes Improves Effort & Motivation
Carol Dweck, a professor at Stanford, studies the importance of challenging children to learn from mistakes. Her research shows that praising children for their intelligence can actually make them less likely to persist in the face of challenge. She and her colleagues followed hundreds of 5th-grade children in New York City schools. One group was praised for their intelligence while the other group was praised for their effort.
When the 5th graders were challenged with an extremely difficult test designed for 8th graders, a surprising result occurred. The students who had been praised for their effort worked very hard, even though they made a lot of mistakes. The kids praised for being smart became discouraged and saw their mistakes as a sign of failure. Intelligence testing for the kids praised for their effort increased by 30% while the kids praised for their intelligence dropped by 20%.
Giving meaningful and specific praise motivates children who are learning from mistakes. Praise should focus on developing their character strengths, helping them understand their internal abilities. It is an opportunity to develop a child’s resilience, one of eight core abilities in The Compass Advantage.
Encourage Each Other When Mistakes Happen!
Learning from mistakes and failures isn’t easy. Children need encouragement to learn and succeed. Remember that positive words from parents, teachers, and mentors during difficult learning challenges is essential for healthy growth and development.
It's never to early to start celebrating 'effort' and 'trying' regardless of outcomes and helping little ones learn how to learn from mistakes. Get excited (clap, smile big, show excitement in your voice) when your little ones try and fail using words like, “Yay, that was such a good try! Let’s try again!”
Community Engagement Adventure
Take this Adventure to the community by sharing the principles you have learned with your friends, co-workers, and extended family members.
Here are some ideas on ways you can teach others this concept:
❏ Most importantly, LIVE IT! Example is the very best teacher.
❏ Tell you friends or extended family members about the activity with your family and what you learned.
❏ Share with your friends or extended family some mistakes that you have made and the lessons you learned from them.
❏ When friends make mistakes let them know that no one is perfect and that you are still their friend. Help them brainstorm lessons they can learn from it.
Let teens share different examples of lessons they have learned and how it has impacted future choices. Celebrate EFFORT!
by Learn From Mistakes