The idea of making a mistake sometimes prevents us from trying something new or making a change. Often, we can reduce our worries by thinking about potential outcomes. What’s the worst thing that could happen if you made a mistake? Maybe it’s not that bad after all. And if it is bad, maybe there are things you can put in place to change or lessen that outcome. Mistakes aren’t always a bad thing, as long as you are prepared for them and for changing your plans on the fly. Depending on how you look at it, your mistake may actually turn out to be a better outcome than you had planned. That was certainly the case with penicillin, Post-It Notes, and the Slinky, which were all developed by mistake. As Montessorians, we regularly see evidence of how valuable making mistakes can be to the learning process. We see it every time a young child works with a Montessori material: how he knows through the control of error that he has made a mistake, and how proud he is when he is able to correct the mistake himself and complete the work successfully.
As part of NAMC’s anniversary celebration, I have been asked to share 20 lessons that stand out in my experience of providing Montessori teacher training programs worldwide over the past 20 years. We are happy to share the next tip in our series that we are presenting over the next few weeks. I hope you find some of these ideas helpful in your own Montessori journey!