Nicola McMullan

Primary Teacher

Christ the King Primary

  • Growth Mindset

What Happens When Mistakes are Celebrated in the Classroom?


Fraser (2018) revealed that the mindset of a child impacts the motivation and achievement of their learning. A mistake in the classroom has been seen to stimulate a fixed mindset and a lack of motivation towards learning. However, Boaler (2015) highlighted that mistakes should be used as opportunities to develop, challenge and motivate learners. Also, embracing mistakes has been seen to be an integral part of the growth mindset process (Rissanen et al, 2019). Blackwell (2018) found that the environment of the classroom can change the mindset of a child. As well this, it has been seen that the teacher altering questioning and feedback techniques can enhance the way children learn. The shift in techniques should focus on the process of learning rather than always focusing on the correct outcome (Dweck, 2006). Hattie (2012) discovered that teachers should scaffold learning and should provide constructive feedback rather than praise. The Scottish Government (2010) also supported this by highlighting that teachers should provide a supportive environment for children. Therefore, it is vital that the teachers create an environment in the classroom where mistakes are seen as learning opportunities to challenge and motivate learners.

This topic was particularly of interest to the Practitioner Enquiry group, as growth mindset is an area of development and importance in many School Improvement Plans. Also, many practitioners believed that the interventions would benefit the children in their class.


The aim of this enquiry was to discover the impact on children’s learning and mindset when mistakes were celebrated in the classroom. Also, it was to observe what happens when more positive language was used when a mistake was made, as well as trying to learn from the mistakes.

Download Practitioner Enquiry