Some time ago we wrote about the value of making mistakes. Now it’s a good time for you to reflect on how you feel about them and how you can and should change your view.
We are brought up and educated to believe that making a mistake is a bad thing and even punishable. I still remember at school, having to write a hundred times any spelling errors I made, only to discover that I continued to make the same error time and time again.
In Engish learning, it is not always necessary for teachers to constantly correct our speaking and pronunciation mistakes. If we frequently make them and if they hinder understanding, then they may be important.
The same goes for writing mistakes, especially if we are doing a Cambridge exam at C1 level, where such mistakes are penalised. In speaking, constant correction can affect our flow and fluency apart from our confidence and self-esteem.
Any correction should be constructive and encourage learners to look up and self-correct themselves.
Here’s a short exercise to help you re-think making mistakes and how you can put them to your advantage.
Time yourself on this task. You need a piece of paper, pen or pencil and a clock or watch before you start. You have a minute to write down your answers to each of the following questions.
- Write quick notes on how you feel about failure and mistakes.
- Write down everything you learnt to do before the age of 10.
- Write down everything you learnt to do without making a mistake.
- Write down any successes that wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t made a mistake, or if you hadn’t failed at something.
- Write down the most important lessons you have learnt because of failure or mistakes.
Whatever you do, mistakes and failure should never be taken too seriously, more as an opportunity to grow and learn positively rather than a problem.
Remember that if you tell a young child not to run because he might fall over, he just might do so. So, let him run and if he does fall over, he will learn that, in certain conditions, it might not be a good idea to run. If you insist on him not running, just in case, he will never run and take that risk. He may well apply this to everything he does in life. After all, fear is often an obstacle to achieving success and prevents us from moving ahead.
Happy English learning!!