I think we can all agree that we make mistakes. As a matter of fact, mistakes are a key part of the learning process. You could even say that mistakes are one of the most important things that happen in any classroom.
So, if mistakes are so valuable then why do students view them as a negative? It’s simple, students think of mistakes on an emotional level. Mistakes can make them feel stupid, embarrassed, or inadequate, all of which are feelings. When students find themselves in this negative space, learning stops.
Imagine a classroom where students embrace making mistakes and are constantly improving. That’s every educators dream! Instead, we are faced with students living in fear of making mistakes, causing them to disengage from the learning process and thinking that they can’t learn the skill set at hand.
What if we could teach students to embrace their mistakes? What if we could help students shift their paradigm about mistakes? The good news is we can! Share with your students that mistakes are a good thing and that they are helpful. Share with your students that we all go through a natural learning curve when we learn a new process or a new skill set.
The learning curve is a four step process:
Concept or Idea Phase– With any initial idea comes excitement. For example, students are excited to learn about hair coloring, which is the idea of learning a new skill.
Trial and Error Phase – In this phase, we try on that new skill and we aren’t immediately successful at it. We make mistakes, we struggle, we might even become frustrated. Hence, the trial and error.
Trail and Succeed Phase – In this phase, we continue with learning the new skill set and we begin to experience success. We notice small successes, it doesn’t take us as long to execute, we find ourselves enjoying the process, we begin to feel proud of our accomplishments.
Mastery Phase – In this phase, we no longer need to think about what we are doing or how we’re going to execute it! We just do it with success.
By helping students shift their perspective about the learning process and how mistakes are a critical part of that process, they will begin to remove the fear, have a new relationship with mistakes, and start embracing the journey of becoming lifelong learners.
Patti Wanamaker brings 21 years of experience to the Milady team, where she currently serves as an Academic Training Specialist. Her intimate understanding of the salon, school, and beauty industry comes from 18 years of hands-on experience as a multi-faceted training specialist, including 8 years of salon and spa ownership of 3 salons with annual sales of $5 million. Her experience in all 3 areas of our industry allows her to think outside the box and develop innovative trainings that not only inspire, but empower educators/trainers to create the most effective learning environments for their students.