Believe it or not, making mistakes in math is actually a good thing. Mistakes can not only be learning opportunities, but as students consider their mistakes, it can also be a time when their brains grow. So, the proper math learning techniques can be the key to a child’s confidence to make mistakes and learn from them.
It is important to normalize mistakes and help children understand that it’s OK to make them, especially when they are learning something new. An excellent phrase to remind students of is, “I’m not going to be good at this right away, I’m going to make mistakes, and that’s OK.”
The way parents and teachers react to a child’s mistake can make all the difference in whether they continue to put in the effort or if they give up. So, it is vital to encourage your child to exercise their brain by trying those challenging activities and encouraging them even when they make a mistake. It is important to remember that it is the learning that happens after a mistake that moves the child forward in their understanding.
Often, children develop a fixed mindset when it comes to learning math. They believe they either have “it,” or they don’t. They believe that understanding math is an innate gift rather than problem-solving skills that can be developed over time.
It is crucial to let your children know that making mistakes is normal whenever they’re learning something new, no matter how old they are. Let your child know that you are still learning and making mistakes even as an adult. Explain to them that if they got everything right on the first try, they would not truly be learning anything. Remind them that learning can be filled with twists and turns, and mistakes are all part of the journey.
If your child is struggling with math concepts, work with them to better understand their thinking. Reassure the child that not only is making mistakes OK, but it will also allow them to go back and learn more about the root of the problem. Teach them that mistakes are just a sign that they’re learning and growing and that each one they make is a chance to rethink the question and work and understand it fully.
It can be helpful to share your personal experiences of growth in math or other areas. You could also ask your child to share some mistakes they have made in other subjects that they have overcome.
When students understand that mistakes are part of the learning process, it can help shift their perception of mistakes as something to embrace rather than avoid. This can eventually lead them to learn that mistakes are not just OK but also expected.
Math can be challenging for many students because there’s pressure to get the right answer. When they don’t get the correct answer, it can often trigger feelings of guilt or shame which can be difficult for those who struggle to embrace their mistakes.
But, a safe learning environment can allow students to take risks in discussions and in their work. It can help create opportunities for risk-taking and self-reflection at the end of each lesson. At Dropkick Math, we provide a safe community of support where students learn that the process is just as critical as arriving at the answer.
We understand that some students believe math is fun, while others become almost paralyzed at the thought of numbers. That is why our programs are built to suit the child’s individual needs. We help the child approach math in a fun and engaging way and provide the parent/ guardian with the tools to support their child moving forward. Find out more about our programs and how we can help build your child’s confidence in mathematics.