Common Mistakes Wall

mistake 1I was listening to Mr Barton’s Podcast with Doug Lemov as I was driving home this afternoon. If you haven’t listened to this podcast or others then you should as they are the best CPD out there and are so informative and interesting. Here is the link to the podcasts.

During this podcast the issue of common misconceptions that pupils have and how to address them in class arose. Here’s what I picked up: when a pupil has made a common error it would be useful for the whole class to see this error as others may have made the same mistake. How can this be done without embarrassing the pupil? Make it a positive experience for the pupil – as the whole class can benefit from seeing it and showing examples of errors and misconceptions can be invaluable to pupils. Doug Lemov suggests – normalizing it, try to make it positive, globalize it – note that others will have made this error and be struggling with, be appreciative of the mistake as it will help us all get better, validate thinking whilst highlighting the mistake.

This reminded me about a new idea I have been trying at school this term – the Common Mistake Wall. I created this display in the corridor.

The idea was that when I spotted a pupil making a common mistake the pupil would be given a copy of a mistake sheet, would write down their common mistake and what the answer should be. This would then be discussed with the class and stuck onto the display in the corridor.

I have not used this as much as I hoped I would, partly because lessons are always so busy and partly because I keep forgetting about it.

Listening to the podcast today reminded me about this. I am going to re-focus on this over the next few weeks as it is important to highlight common errors and share with my class but also for other pupils to see.

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