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As a teacher with 29 years of experience, Mary Ruth McGinn has always sought innovative ways to meet the needs of each of her students. She has spent her entire career in schools where a majority of students speak English as a second language and where poverty significantly impacts the... Read more

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I’m a Failure

Error Chart“What comes to mind when you hear the words error or mistake?” As students brainstorm and throw out their many responses and reactions to this question, a specific course for instruction takes shape.

How can we move forward with our learning when we are terrified of making mistakes? From parents, teachers and from society in general, we receive mixed messages regarding this theme. We are told that it is critical to make mistakes in order to learn, but at the same time, are told that we should avoid making mistakes at all cost. How can we decipher which message to adopt? In this world, there are no rewards, no prizes given for mistakes. And so, we strive for perfection, but never quite make the mark. In this manner, we often feel defeated, deflated, like a failure.

We must change this mindset if we want our kids to be contributing members of society who discover innovative ideas and solutions to address the world’s most challenging problems. Let’s teach them to embrace their mistakes, analyze them carefully and work through them to find a solution. If we are empowered by determination, perseverance and a commitment to try and try again, when at first we don’t succeed, we will discover who we are and what we have to offer the world.

Parker- Errors

Errors- Sonia

Errors- Perry

Errors- Nathan

Errors- Jovan

 

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Mary Ruth McGinn

About Mary Ruth McGinn

As a teacher with 29 years of experience, Mary Ruth McGinn has always sought innovative ways to meet the needs of each of her students. She has spent her entire career in schools where a majority of students speak English as a second language and where poverty significantly impacts the learning experiences and opportunities of students and their families.

Sixteen years ago she had an experience that changed her life and altered her professional path in a profound way. She attended training sessions at The Metropolitan Opera Guild in New York City, spent nine intense days living the process of creating an original opera and learned how to replicate the experience with her students. She then began creating opera with her students and using the process of creating the opera as a vehicle through which to teach curriculum and life skills. The authentic purpose for learning coupled with the arts provided the perfect stage on which to construct a love for life-long learning.

She currently teaches at Stedwick Elementary School in Montgomery Village, Maryland where she is creating another original opera with her third grade students.

Read more of Mary Ruth’s blog Learning for Real.

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