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Friday, May 05, 2017

Errors Big and Small

Error in the elementary school is a chance for greater learning. When children err, we talk about it and make decisions about how to not repeat a behavior that's troubling. Typically if we're attuned, there doesn't have to be a lot of repetition with regard to righting wrongs--children learn quickly.

As colleagues, good teams prevent big error because good teams support one another's good work and the mission of the job. Good teams are continually reviewing the work they do together to right any wrongs and better their efforts. This kind of development uses error as stepping stones to better work.

Error that becomes big is small error that is not attended to, the kind of error that is ignored, denied, or possibly even supported. It's often difficult to speak up about an error you notice, but when you do speak up, you save everyone a lot of trouble. Error is easily remedied when it's current and when it's small. If too much time exists between the error and response that's when error can lead to bigger problems, and those bigger problems are difficult to solve.

Another way to deal with error is to anticipate error and work to prevent it. As educators we have a good idea about how children will react in multiple situations, and we can prevent error by talking about those kinds of erroneous situations prior to an event. Prepping students typically eliminates or at least minimizes the kinds of error that can occur.

Staying mindful about expected protocols, rules, and expectations is another way to avoid error. Staying abreast of current information, goals, and initiatives can also prevent potential error. And, as mentioned before, speaking up with questions to gain understanding also works against error.

In the school house, we want to work to prevent big errors. Ways to do this include the following:
  • Make sure there's adequate supervision and positive routines
  • Keep your eyes open and respond with questions or information to events that could become future errors or problems
  • Anticipate potential problems with students and give them the opportunity to plan how they'll face potential error before it happens
  • When small errors occur work through those errors with students, and help students to learn from those errors.
  • Collaborate with others, there's less chance of error when we work well with one another for what is right and good.
  • Keep track of error in order to determine if there are any patterns contributing to that error--patterns that can be changed for the better.
Error also requires empathy and compassion. We all err and often error occurs without any warning and chance for preparation. Sometimes we simply make mistakes. When this happens the empathy and compassion of others help us to get back up. Therefore it's important for us to look at students', colleagues', families' and others' errors with the same empathy and compassion.

Error happens and when it happens, we have to respond with as much respect, care, empathy, and problem solving as we can muster.