Questioning & Posing Problems: Is It Okay To Make a Mistake?

LinkedIn Live

Should we celebrate making mistakes?

Institute for Habits of Mind Co-Director Bena Kallick isn’t so sure.

“I always love it when we say we celebrate mistakes, because I’m not sure it’s a celebration,” she laughs. “I don’t usually feel it.”

She goes on to explain that the celebration is actually around the sense that the mind is working, not that the mistake has been made.

“I’m not frozen, I’m actually willing to take a chance on myself,” says Kallick. “Very often for people, especially when you’re beating yourself up for a mistake that you made, you feel like, ‘Maybe I should have just kept my mouth shut. Maybe I shouldn’t have tried.’

“So it seems to me, it’s the celebration of being willing to take a risk, to take a chance, to stay persistent, to not give up.”

Co-Director Art Costa agrees, stating, “What you’re celebrating is learning from the mistake. (Thomas) Edison found 10,000 ways how not to make a light bulb.”

Costa says that, to change the language and the notion of mistake-making or failure-making, there must be a psychologically safe environment in which teachers are modeling what it looks like to make a mistake.

Watch the LinkedIn Live Conversation

“Teachers have to exhibit a vulnerability that they will admit the mistake,” he said. “‘Whoops, I sure blew that one.'”

Kallick, Costa, and Co-Director Allison Zmuda will be engaging in monthly LinkedIn Live conversations like this one about each of the Habits of Mind. To participate in future conversations, follow the Institute for Habits of Mind on LinkedIn.

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