Mistakes are the most important thing that happens in any classroom, because they tell you where to focus that deliberate practice.
So why don’t students view their mistakes as a valuable asset? Well, students don’t think about their mistakes rationally — they think about them emotionally. Mistakes make students feel stupid. “Stupid” is just that: a feeling. Specifically, it’s the feeling of shame, and our natural response is to avoid its source. If we say something embarrassing, we hide our face. If we get a bad grade, we hide the test away. Unsurprisingly, that’s the worst move to make if you ever want to get better.
Academic success does not come from how smart or motivated students are. It comes from how they feel about their mistakes.