Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Promoting Self-Correction

Frog, Green, Animal, Amphibian, ThinkingNow that we know we need to explicitly teach students to identify and correct errors, the next step is to help students create a self-correcting mindset.  

A good introduction to the topic can be found in this video at the Teaching Channel  The two instructors explain how they use questioning to promote self-correction and to help their students become more independent learners.

One way to help students gain the ability to self correct is with a slight change to our thinking as teachers.  Allow students to work a set number of problems together if they want, or let them work independently.  Its up to them.  When they've completed the assignment, let them correct their assignment using the teacher's manual.

Students use markers to correct their work so one color indicates correct, another for incorrect.  Allow them to write in the correct answer.  Let them journal about their experience and have them include thoughts on their thinking process and where and why the mistake happened.

Another suggestion reflects back to yesterday's entry on having the students create a check list so they can go through each problem checking for the places they are most likely to do the math incorrectly.  The checklist gives them a place to start.  This is something I need to do with some of my math classes.

We know that when students find their own errors, they become more empowered.  Unfortunately, finding errors in math is not always that easy as it can be as simple as missing a negative sign or as complex as not substituting the correct variable.   I noticed that many of the websites I visited when researching self-correction focused more on practicing certain skills rather than focusing on teaching the skills to think about why the mistake was made.

Even teaching students to self correct means we have to change the attitude of wrong is failure and its ok to go back and figure out why students don't get the right answer.  Out here, students play lots of basketball.  I just have to show them that self correcting in Math is the same process as the one they use in basketball. 

If they miss the basket, they stop to ask why they missed it.  They think of possibilities and once they've determined them, they begin practicing so they can get better.  I sometimes think I need to teach math as if its a sport and they are trying  to go to state.

Let me know what you think.  Thanks for reading.