We all make mistakes. I certainly have made them whilst teaching. And do you know what? Pupils love it when you do. It engages them and lets them see that everyone makes errors – not just children.
What are effective ways of making mistakes in the classroom?
- Play ‘spot the mistake’ with your students. This game is when you make slips whilst teaching and students have to signal when the mistake occurs. It works great as a fun starter. You can even challenge one of your students to come to the front of the class and the rest of the pupils must spot his/her blunders.
- Give students questions AND answers in maths. They must find the problems and correct them.
- Use technology when making mistakes. It certainly helps because of the ease of editing. I asked my students to ‘up-level’ poor quality writing on a Google Doc. I did this as a group activity and the results were amazing:
- Show a story with incorrect grammar on Google Docs – children must work collaboratively to fix it.
- Challenge your pupils to get things (like facts or calculations) wrong and when they are finished, the teacher has to correct them. Following this, they can check if the teacher found all of the problems. This motivates the children to find out the correct answer first so they can see if the teacher is right. I challenged some students to make up some facts about the books they were reading (this worked very well for comprehension and understanding of a story):
- Play a ‘mistakes game’ (they work particularly well as a plenary). One example is the ‘2 correct and 1 wrong’ game in which pupils challenge their partner to spot which post-it note has an incorrect fact. Here is an example of work from a plenary I did in a history lesson:
- Perform poorly in front of the class i.e. reading a poem or book in a dull, monotonous voice. Students can evaluate and then give tips to improve:
In conclusion, my experience of making oversights in class has a been a very positive one. Finding ways of engaging learners is key and mistakes are certainly a way of doing this.
What mistakes have you made in class? Share them by commenting below!