exploring mistakes blmurch

Exploring Mistakes

A while ago I went to a 4 day creative workshop called: “Colour and Collage”. My tutor was a wonderful teacher. She explained the principles of colour and design carefully, and then described the tasks to be done. As we completed each series of exercises, she’d ask us simple questions such as: What do you think of your piece? Where is your focal point?” – which made us critically evaluate our own works. What a wonderful teacher – she didn’t cast judgement, but rather, encouraged us to think?

She could have stepped in as we were working, pointing out the errors we’d made, or parts which we’d omitted – which would have been discouraging. Instead she taught us what to look for ourselves – creating independent workers

As a parent, and your child’s teacher, what an important lesson… to give your child the freedom to create, to recognise when they’ve made a ‘mistake’ themselves, without you pointing it out to them. Or, to jump in early (which is often our temptation as parents) and ‘solve’ the problem for them eg –“if you keep doing it that way it will fall apart, you need to do it this way” – you’ve  robbed your child of the ability to discover for himself! When we problem correct, and problem solve for our children, it teaches children that they are ‘wrong’, that only Mum/Dad know, and that it’s not okay to explore.

How much better would it be, to allow a child to explore their creativity (taking into account any obvious safety issues), and to learn lots of different ways of doing things – or equally, learn the ways of not doing things – eg not lining up blocks straight means that the tower falls over.  This helps them learn the best way of doing a task – whether it’s using the right tool or implement for a job, or what happens to ‘xyz’ when you do this. They really get to use those brain cells!

As parents we sometimes need to step back, and let our children do it ‘wrong’ – for through trial and error they will truly learn. We need to gauge when or if we need to intervene at all!

Give your child lots of praise for the effort they put into their play. Your words can encourage them to keep trying, or to give up and let you do it instead.

Have a great week.

Sonja Preston
“Remember to Play”

Image by blmurch via Flickr


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