Monday, January 05, 2009
Mistake Tolerant Tools
When I was in grad school, one of my professors, Richard Wanderman, an adult with learning disabilities, brought up the concept of "mistake tolerant" in the classroom. He specifically spoke about mistake tolerant vs. mistake intolerant materials and described clay as mistake tolerant (you don't like what you've created, you slab it back on the wheel and start again). Conversely, sculpting with stone is an example of a mistake intolerant medium (you make mistakes and may ultimately end up with a small pebble).
Look around your classroom. Are you paper/pencil dependent? Do your students sometimes erase so much or so hard that there are holes in their paper? Mistake intolerant.
Do you offer students multiple ways to demonstrate what they know using tools other than paper/pencil? For example, if they are required to write a book report, do you allow them to use a word processor or use multimedia to express their thoughts in more creative ways? Mistake tolerant.
Don't make the mistake of being mistake intolerant. Offer a variety of tools and methods that support your learners and that allow for errors. After all, it is through making mistakes that we learn some of life's greatest lessons.
Photo credit - http://www.flickr.com/photos/karpov85/2368271412/