To err or not to err


If you have ten minutes today for an enjoyable longread on educational psychology, here is an article by Claudia Wallis about the science behind error correction. There are a lot of examples from U.S. schools where the learners were able to develop a growth mindset because the teacher encouraged them to see the benefits of errors and explain their right and wrong answers. “The students began to see errors as a path to learning rather than humiliation.” It all sounds very persuasive.

And yet, the behaviourist desire ‘to model correctly’ is deeply ingrained in us, teachers and learners alike. For example, it’s hard to disagree with this post by Gianfranco Conti, who says that correcting errors in students’ writing has little effect on their learning (unless it is supported by a lot of remedial activities) and concludes: “better invest your time in planning and resourcing your teaching more effectively”.

So, are you with behaviourists or with cognitivists?

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