We’ve all heard that we should allow children to make mistakes, let them learn from their errors, etc. etc. However, I recently came across an interesting article by Alfie Kohn. He argues that letting children make mistakes without providing a supportive environment is not only not helpful, but can actually be detrimental. Here are a few highlights:
Maybe the problem is that the educational environment [in traditional schools] emphasizes how well students are doing rather than what they’re doing: It’s all about achievement! performance! results! rigor! and not about the learning itself…
Jerome Bruner said this: We want students to “experience success and failure not as reward and punishment but as information.”
What is clear is that the very environments that play up the importance of doing well make it even less likely that doing poorly will have any beneficial effect.
Coincidentally, my latest post on http://www.MariaMontessori.com illustrates how a quality Montessori environment provides the type of support necessary for mistakes to become opportunities for learning and growth. Enjoy!