Problem Solving

As teachers, it is difficult to watch our students struggle with problem-solving.   Whether they showed up to class without their homework, or didn’t listen to the directions or even when they don’t  know how to get along with the people in their math group. It comes in all shapes all sizes, and as teachers we tend to fly in like superheroes and try to save the day; it is easier. Is this the best idea?  is this teaching our kids to have a skill they so desperately need for the REAL world?  Or even teaching them to learn from their mistakes and allowing them to make mistakes?

.  In my classroom I teach growth mindset, I believe I am understanding when students make  honest mistakes, and I try to build a relationship with each of my students, so when they do mess up they feel comfortable admitting it. I’m not perfect, I tend to NOT let things go as quickly as I should, I want each of my students to live up to their potential, and I push them to very high expectations. – like many other teachers that I know. 

But this has been proven to be difficult for my students ( and even me at times) I’ve encouraged my students to move past their mistakes, I try not to dwell on them for long and I talk to them about the lesson learned- the natural cause/effect ( consequence) . 

  At what age do we start holding the student responsible for their mistakes? What kind of mistake is appropriate for the teacher to overreact a little? How do kids learn from their mistakes when they are so afraid to challenge themselves to make any? 

I have a few students that dwell on their moment of error for 90 minutes of class. The mistake is not owned by them but blame is placed on the adult or person who recognized the error. 

Here is my best advice

Praise participation. 

Reward effort.

Teach students about people who have overcome obstacles and their own failures. 

Praise students who put themselves out there; share, help others or  ask for help.

Don’t  overreact to the mistake. 

Praise students who give an incorrect answer but find their way to the right one. Never giving up.

Encourage students to participate. 

Model the appropriate behavior so the students know what it looks like and sounds like when homework is left at home or the quiz was done incorrectly. 

Give students a second chance when they recognize their mistakes. 

Give students obstacles and challenging situations to help them learn how to overcome failure, mistakes, errors; working with partners or a group/ difficult problems / riddles to solve.
I have found that the growth mindset teaches these kids to look at their brains as if they were a flexible, working muscle.  It allows them to understand that a mistake just means they are that much closer to progress. 

They aren’t perfect . We aren’t perfect and thank goodness I’ve been allowed to fail . They may not be capable of overcoming these mistakes and bouncing back right away, but I believe in the Power of YET! They aren’t there YET- but , if I have anything to say about it, they will be.


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