So, it was my first time cleaning out Squirtle the turtle’s tank by myself. Someone had talked me through the steps a couple of weeks back, but I only watched, so didn’t actually do it.
I put the water pump in the tank but didn’t take the pump hose outside straight away…What a mistake!
I brought the outside hose in and got everything set up already to go. I confidently turned on the pump…
‘OH Noooo’ the water came flowing out of the pump hose and onto my feet, and then onto the mat filling up the room with water extremely quickly!
“OH NO!” yelled the children who were standing around watching, as I yelled out “HELP!” lifting the hose up to stop the water running out.
“WHAT DID YOU DO?” asked one of the children.
I replied, “I made a mistake and didn’t take the hose outside before I turned the pump on”.
One of the children replied, “It’s okay, adults can make a mistake too!”.
This reply “It’s okay, adults can make a mistake too” really made me think. Making mistakes helps you to learn, and I think sometimes it’s good for children to see adults make a mistake as we can role model how we deal with it. Often, it is how we deal with the mistake is whether it is a good outcome of learning or not. During this event I didn’t get grumpy or upset, I just sorted it out as quickly as possible and cleaned up after myself, getting a mop and drying out the mat.
It also made me think about the fact that children need to do things themselves to learn, not just be shown how to do things and have someone do it so the child doesn’t make a mistake. By doing things for the child, we take the possible learning away from them.
Learning is enriched through error. 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. Through a lifetime, learning from mistakes helps develop wisdom and good judgment.
How does this change my practice as an educator?
*I don’t rush in to solve children’s problems for them.
*Asking children how they would solve their problem instead of telling them how.
*Having and sharing an attitude of acceptance, and even embracing failure.
I will end with this quote from john Powell ‘The one real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing’.
Written by Maria – Lead Educator at Springfield