Posted on 25th October 2012
Learning From Mistakes
When I was in year four I was mortified when I lost a mark on a spelling test because I got ‘raspberry’ wrong. I’d missed out the ‘p’ and I remember being really frustrated about it at the time as I usually got full marks in spelling tests. Despite missing out on a perfect score and being annoyed for the rest of the day, now I am really glad that happened because I always remember how to spell ‘raspberry’. That one mistake has etched the correct spelling in my mind forever.
There are hundreds of sayings about learning from your mistakes and how important it is to fail along the journey to succeeding and so on. In fact a while ago I wrote about how a number of schools are now doing classes on how to fail and turn stumbles and errors into positive learning experiences. Failing is becoming fashionable, (as long as it leads to doing better in the future).
In an ideal world we’d get everything correct all the time, but unfortunately we don’t live in an ideal world, far from it in fact. In order to get better at things we need to try our hardest as often as possible, and when things don’t go to plan we shouldn’t panic, or get depressed, but take a step back, look at what went wrong and think about how we can improve next time round. Sometimes this can be hard to do, especially when we suffer big disappointments, but hopefully over time we can let the pain fade and look at things more objectively.
Recently I have been marking lots of mock 11+ English exams and writing reports on students’ papers. If you have recently sat a mock exam for the 11+, or indeed for any other exam, don’t despair if your mark isn’t as high as you’d hoped it would be. I have never marked a paper where there’s been nothing positive at all to say, and there is always something to be proud of. You should focus on the good comments in your reports and be pleased with what you have achieved.
Inevitably there will also be some comments about what wasn’t so successful, where you missed marks or could have approached things a bit differently. Please don’t let these things get you down; these comments are there to help you. Consider them carefully and as you study for the real exams, focus on the key areas that have been highlighted by the mock. There’s still plenty of time to improve and flagging up weaknesses now will give you the chance to strengthen your skills and dazzle in the forthcoming exams.