#SOL20: Mistakes

“Not all Mistakes are Equal.”

Cruz, M. Colleen. (2020). Risk.Fail.Rise. A Teacher’s Guide to Learning from Mistakes. Heineman, p. 2.

While baking or cooking, I sometimes make mistakes. I’m missing an ingredient, so I decide on a substitution that is “close” but not exactly what I need. Sometimes it works; sometimes it does not. If it works and I like it, I may repeat the now revised “recipe.” Other times, I may decide not to repeat it because it’s just not as I imagined or expected.



Recent quilting mistakes:

  1. Sewing a right side of fabric to a wrong side of a second fabric. Solution: Rip out and sew again.

2. A loopy bottom thread that does not catch and secure. Solution: Rethread the sewing machine, rip out the stitching, and sew again.

3. A seam frays and becomes loose when turned inside out. Solution 1: Tear out one inch, tuck inside and topstitch. Solution 2: Tear out and restitch the entire seam to reduce pressure and likelihood of “refraying.” Solution 3: Pay more careful attention to seam width on corners and thick seams on next item.

Hmmm. Multiple steps to solutions. More than one solution depending on the mistake. It’s complicated!

Risk-taking is an issue. It’s often “easier” to ignore or downplay our mistakes as adults. But what if we instead took the opportunity to explore the growth possibilities as we model our own responses to mistakes for our students and family members. This introspection is a result of the brilliance of Colleen Cruz’s research, examples and tools in this amazing book.

One quick example from the first line of the chart in Fig. 1-3 “Shift from Blame to Action” is included here.

Two possible solutions for you to consider.

This is a book for reflection. This is a book that has the possibility of moving you from reflection to action. And with a book study, you just may promote a culture of learning . . . “learning from mistakes.”

What is a mistake that you have made recently? What did you learn from the mistake?


Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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7 responses

  1. I do this all the time with recipes. My family teases me about it all the time. With sewing, I go the rip out and sew again route. On my refrigerator is a magnet that says, “Always make new mistakes.” Mistakes should be embraced as opportunities.

    1. Margaret,
      You will love Colleen’s book. I think it gives us some insight for students who are hesitant to take risks and be “less than perfect.”

  2. I think that so often it is instilled in us that we have to be perfect and that mistakes are unacceptable. How sad. I firmly believe that I learn more from failure than I do from success, although success is nice.

    1. Colleen starts her book talking about “perfectionism” and that it’s unrealistic. Agree, success is nice but not always necessary!

  3. I ordered two turkeys … couldn’t find the first order, figured I forgot about it, and ordered again. I am donating the extra to a local food pantry. You know too many of my mistakes … I love that I can always count on you to problem solve with me (with a laugh included).

    1. Clare,
      Hmm . . . have also done the double order before. What a great donation!
      And yes to problem solving with you… Such a fine line between innovation with a touch of risk and partial failure!

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