Children are often afraid of making mistakes in the classroom. As a result, children view their mistakes as failures and develop a fixed mindset. Fixed mindsets come from a feeling of failure. But what happens when we redefine the meaning of failure? According to Miller (2015) one of the most powerful things a teacher can do is to promote the freedom to fail. Through doing this we encourage children to be motivated, persevere, accept and learn from their mistakes. This then develops a growth mindset. Motivation is a key factor in developing a growth mindset. Mclean (2003) suggests that children’s motivation can be developed through positive relationships with the teacher and the use of positive language. This chimes with the Scottish government (2010) which highlights that excellence is promoted through positive relationships. Therefore, it is important that within the classroom environment mistakes are celebrated so children are able to develop motivation to learn, perseverance and most of all a growth mindset.
The aim of this enquiry was to evaluate the impact on children’s learning and attitudes when mistakes are celebrated in the classroom. It was also to encourage children to use more positive language when making a mistake and highlight the benefits of making a mistake in numeracy and maths.