Mistakes are an essential part of learning

Everyone makes mistakes. It is part and parcel of being human.

It’s not a mistake to make a mistake but it’s a mistake to repeat the same mistakes.

You might be surprised to hear that mistakes are an important part of your learning process too.

Over the years many philosophers and psychologists – who call mistakes “learning tools” – have done research on how and why mistakes are an essential part of learning.

They have found that what we do with the experience we gain from making mistakes, has many learning benefits.

Think about it like this: without mistakes in learning, your brain won’t learn anything at all. Without making mistakes, your brain won’t grow.

A mistake is always a lesson.

What does making mistakes teach you?

Mistakes help you to remember and to understand

Once you have made a mistake, and thereafter, you must figure out why your answer was wrong and/or why you thought your answer was right. Your brain absorbs the (new) information and it becomes part of your long-term memory.

If you are simply given the correct answer, you will not memorise it that effectively.

Making mistakes builds problem-solving and critical thinking skills

When you are in the process of correcting a mistake that you have made in your schoolwork, a class test or an examination, you are effectively busy solving a problem. You are applying critical thinking skills, often without realising it.

There is a lot of merit in trying to figure out what you did wrong before asking a teacher or a fellow-learner to help you. If it feels as if you are struggling to get to the right answer, ask someone to help you, but do not let them guide you every step of the way.

Use your problem-solving abilities and critical thinking skills to figure some of it out by yourself.

Making mistakes boosts your self-confidence and self-esteem

Make mistakes. Learn from them. Move on.

Once you have made a mistake you have the opportunity to learn more and correct yourself. This puts you in control of your own learning experience.

Remind yourself of that sense of self-assurance you felt when you reacted positively to a mistake that you have made, when you must face your next challenge, whether it is at school, on the sports field or whilst socialising.

Mistakes teach you what doesn’t work, and it then encourages you to create new ways of thinking and doing

A mistake is an educational challenge.

In the process of solving your own mistake, you will discover something new, something you didn’t know.

In the solving process you make a new connection between a particular idea and a specific concept. This means that you link ideas or concepts that you have not linked before.

A mistake is an opportunity to grow!

A motto in life: “I fall. I rise. I make mistakes. I live. I learn.”