By: Ken McCandless
Ryan was afraid to be wrong.
One of the largest challenges of my student, Ryan, was not how to solve reading comprehension, but being able to admit that he didn’t understand the process of solving it. “Ryan, the detail from the context is located in line 46. Do you understand why?” “Oh yeah, yes, I do.” “Then how do we find it?” “Well, because…” Ryan would then wait for me to re read the question, explain the process, and reinforce the answer. However, he wasn’t improving. I realized that in order for him to improve, he first needed to understand that it is “OK” to be wrong.
He was now learning faster than ever. His confidence in being wrong sparked his curiosity and motivation to be right. As an instructor I was able to more accurately pinpoint why he was not understanding a step in a process and implement the proper strategy to help him learn and retain that step. It was crazy to see how changing one detail of his mentality could make such a huge difference in his learning.
I’ve noticed that many students feel less inclined to ask a question or make a statement if they know that there is a risk of being wrong.
“Our educational system is rooted in the construct of right and wrong. We are rewarded for what are deemed to be correct answers and the ensuing higher grades, which generally lead to more successful lives. Being right affirms and inflates our sense of self-worth. As students we learn to avoid as best we can the embarrassment of being wrong. Getting the right answer becomes the primary purpose of our education. Isn't it regrettable that this may be inconsistent with actually learning?”
Being right inflates our sense of self-worth, but being wrong gives us the opportunity to actually build our self-worth.
Self-worth is your sense of your own value or worth as a person; self-esteem; self-respect. In order to increase our self-esteem and self respect, we must first increase our own value and worth.
“Righting” your “wrongs”: The easiest way to build your educational value and worth.
The smartest students are the ones who are not afraid to be wrong and learn from their mistakes. Being smart doesn’t mean having a larger mental capacity than the next student, it means building your knowledge and skills that you lacked before. Ryan was able to build his sense of self-worth by learning how to use what he didn’t know as an opportunity to build his knowledge base. He unknowingly was building his academic self-esteem at the same time.
Every student has the ability to perform at a high level. At Hillview Prep we strive to find what makes a student learn faster, whether it be complex or as simple and empowering Ryan to know that being wrong is Ok.
To learn more about Hillview Prep and how we can help you or your student, visit www.hillviewprep.com or contact us to learn more!