Currently I'm teaching math, but I hope to eventually teach science. However, it seems that both disciplines have similar issues. My students are really so awesome, but they are also so terrified to fail publicly, or be wrong in front of their classmates. One time, I was walking around my classroom as the students were completing an activity, and I found one student just staring at his notebook, not doing anything. I asked him what was going on, and he told me point blank that he "didn't want to be wrong." This broke my heart. I'm still trying to figure out how to overcome this thought process. I will definitely follow this thread and hopefully see some more tips on how to teach students that it's ok to fail.
This topic has been on my mind for most of the school year, and I've had some ideas. I haven't had a chance to implement most of them, but if I do have an opportunity I may post an update.
-On Mondays and Fridays we have slightly longer class periods, and I want to get in the habit of using those extra few minutes to discuss relevant topics related to math. Earlier this semester, I used the time to highlight WOC and POC mathematicians. I could also use this time to talk about the importance of failure in the careers of famous scientists/mathematicians/etc.
-Get students in the habit of doing test corrections. Make it so routine that they become used to the first try being wrong, and having to analyze and correct it.
-Have students quiz me on a topic that they're very familiar with/passionate about. Demonstrate that I am not afraid to be wrong and that it's fun to learn about new topics.
It seems like sometimes we have to take away from instruction time to build our students up. I haven't had time to do this lately, since we keep getting behind, but I need to make it a priority.
If anyone wants to try these tips I would love to hear about the results!