Rarely Use The Word “Wrong” And Other Helpful Bits [Edutopia]

Mr. Vilson 7 Comments

An excerpt from my latest at Edutopia:

1) Rarely Use the Word “Wrong”

Students need to know that you’re not going to press a buzzer every time they make a comment or ask a question, no matter how ridiculous. Starting the year off by accepting their errors and misgivings means that you get to know them and their style of learning. Also, you get to show them the way you’ll respond to questions for the rest of the year. The word “wrong” in a classroom is similar to the phrase “You can’t do that” in improv. It’s a non-starter and often inhibits further participation. We have so many ways to say that an answer is incorrect without using the word that keep students thinking, “I might as well not.”

Read. Share. Like. Share again. Thank you for keeping me writing.

Mr. Vilson, who thinks Jose may write about writing in a few.

About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

Comments 7

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      Jose

      David, I think you may have missed the point. I want students to make mistakes and own them, but I don’t want them to feel stymied by them like many teachers do. My method assures that students keep thinking without making them feel like they’re wrong so why even bother?

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