Too sensitive to correction/mistakes

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by anna9868, Sep 21, 2017.

  1. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    Sep 21, 2017

    I wonder if anyone dealt with a child who is extremely sensitive to his mistakes/errors.
    I tutor a 5th grader in English, reading, writing.
    I've been doing it since April, so we went a long way with him.
    He is a general ed student, his main diagnoses is ADHD.

    I know he is sensitive to his mistakes, however, up until now it wasn't as bad as that. This week as I was starting to check his essay, or rather, I do it together with him, asking him if a sentence is missing something.... does this sound good? etc. All of a sudden he started crying. like big real tears.
    When I asked why, he replied because we were correcting his mistakes.
    I was so surprised, I stopped, saying that we'll do it later. I decided not to do it that day, but to try next week.

    Any suggestion how I should approach this delicate issue next time? I would like to check his essay, he makes lots and lots of mistakes. And at the same time, I'd like to avoid tears.
     
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  3. Kelster95

    Kelster95 Companion

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    Sep 22, 2017

    Try focusing on one area to improve at a time. Only check for mistakes in that area and make the focus be on improving that area.
     
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  4. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Sep 22, 2017

    Instead of focusing on the mistakes, find the lacking skill and work on practicing that skill in isolation and moving it to application. Talk about it while it is being practice (have him tell you why he is using what he is using). This turns it into not focusing on mistakes but providing the learning because he really isn't going to learn by fixing mistakes because that is after the fact. He needs to learn to do it right the first time until it is so ingrained that he knows it. Then he can catch a mistake. Right now those errors aren't "mistakes", they are ignorance and inability.
     
  5. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Sep 22, 2017

    In addition to the content-driven approaches being mentioned, make sure to spend some time discussing growth mindset and making connections to authentic examples of yourself, others, adults, etc... making mistakes and how they are learning experiences, not something that define us. How you approach the mistakes will help the student now, but putting focus on mindset too will help the student long-term.

    It's more for math, but there are some videos on Youcubed.org that talk about how mistakes and struggle help grow your brain more than you're just always successful. You might even show that to the student, while working on their mindset.
     
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  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Sep 22, 2017

    While drafting its most important to get the ideas down on paper. ThT could be one tutoring session. The next time edit and revise. Carefully. The red pen, find everything that's wrong kind of conferring is difficult, disheartening and potentially damaging.
     
  7. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    Sep 23, 2017

    a2z, while I agree with your suggestion overall, I don't see why fixing mistakes isn't learning. For example, his common mistakes are run-on and sentence fragments. I'm now learning with him about Run-ons, comma-splices and sentence fragments. When I feel he understands those topics fairly well I was going to go back to his writing and fix those mistakes. Isn't that learning from your mistakes?
     
  8. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Sep 23, 2017

    When going through an essay, you are usually moving from one kind of mistake to another as you move through the piece. It is disjointed and makes it difficult for students with learning issues to keep hopping from one type of error to another. Also, there is usually a lot of unrelated talk between each type of error.

    If he knows it fairly well, why is he making so many of the mistakes?

    Now, if you are teaching in isolation and then using the essay to see if he can then notice the mistakes, it may be how you approach the essay. Did you explain the difference between learning and application and why you are going through the essay? Also, if he has such an emotional time with once again having to see all of the errors he made before you worked on the skill, have him write and apply the skills in some short work.

    What do you mean by you are now "learning with him...."?
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Sep 24, 2017

    Focus on ONE thing. What's most important to move this writer forward. If it's run ons, ask him if he'd like you to work on one together. Then have him work on the next one with minimal guidance from you and then one by himself. Be encouraging, not critical.
     
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  10. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Sep 24, 2017

    With ADHD it is hard because students need so much more practice getting it right because putting the pieces together takes so much processing power that there are times that kids miss.

    There are fundamental disagreements about how to teach writing as you can see between the differing advice. There are pros to having kids draft then correct because it allows them to get their thoughts down easier, but the flip side is the lack of focus that is put on the mechanics and the organization of ideas in advance (not saying nothing is done prior to a draft because some teachers do focus on that).

    But if his instruction in school has consisted more of a draft and correct model and he can no longer emotionally handle going through a paper riddled with errors, I struggle to support using the same methods to tutor him. One suggestion if you really want to use that model to have him correct mistakes, use a made up essay with similar mistakes to his (neutral work) and do it that way. Using his is only going to make him feel defeated at this point. You are dealing with both academic and emotional difficulties.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2017
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  11. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Sep 24, 2017

    Coming from a foreign language classroom, I'm more accustomed to reading large and lengthy texts translated by my students. Given the grammar-heavy language I taught, there were bound to be more than a couple mistakes even in the translations of my brightest students. I learned very quickly that it wasn't helpful to anyone to mark everything that was wrong. Not only did it take a lot of time and require extremely careful focus on my part to figure out exactly where each sentence veered off track, it also was pretty discouraging to my students to see a paper full of marks. Instead, I focused on one or two issues, usually the current grammar topic and a previous one, and marked those errors as they happened. I let most of the other stuff go, knowing that we would eventually get back around to the problem topic. In the end it was easier for me to sharpen my focus and it was easier for my students to address one or two repeated mistakes rather than 20 different kinds of mistakes.
     
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  12. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    Oct 19, 2017

    Imagine that you are in a class to learn how to knit a sweater. After the first few sessions, the teacher feels that you've learned enough of the basics and decides you are ready to begin knitting a sweater. You go home to finish the sweater. When you present the completed sweater to the teacher, she informs you that you have made "many, many mistakes" all of which must now be corrected. Since you are extremely distraught and are ready to quit the class, the teacher attempts to focus on one type of mistake at a time as suggested by Kelster95. The teacher also attempts to help reduce your distress by discussing growth mindset with you as suggested by mathmagic. Perhaps the teacher might even consider a2z's suggestion of making the corrections on someone else's sweater with similar mistakes, so that you will feel less defeated. Any of these efforts by the teacher will surely cause you to have a renewed interest in learning to knit and desire to remain in the class. Would you be consoled if your knitting teacher put off correcting the many mistakes in your first sweater until next week? She might even conclude that you are probably "sensitive to mistakes/errors".

    Although my reply is "tongue in cheek", it may help explain why more than 50% of college students have such poor writing skills. While it may be true that we can all learn from our mistakes, students who "learn to do it right the first time", as advocated by a2z, are much more inclined to be successful in the end. Just look at the "coaching model" used in the world of sports, in which athletes and olympians are taught to execute a maneuver correctly the first time, instead of having to spend countless hours correcting their mistakes or bad habits.

    I've always believed that daily practice in correcting poorly written sentences is a waste of time (e.g. DOL). It is much more effective to provide students with models of exemplary writing beginning in kindergarten, instead of expecting them to compose their own "sentences" that are riddled with mistakes.
     
  13. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    Oct 19, 2017

     
  14. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    Oct 19, 2017

    I forgot to mention in my knitting analogy, that what is supposed to be a sweater is an unrecognizable mess of yarn with countless knots. Also, buried at the bottom of your backpack are two other incomplete projects, a scarf and cap that have just as many mistakes. Obviously, your knitting teacher was unable to convince you of the value of correcting your own mistakes, leaving you with an overwhelming feeling of failure and resentment.

    The student in question has most likely experienced years of failed writing attempts and has developed an aversion to correcting mistakes. Don't you think this is a natural consequence?

    Here's an idea that I have tried myself. Think of the problem as a professional challenge in which the prize is $1,000,000 to anyone who can teach the child to independently compose five complete sentences about a topic of his choice. The sentences must be written with correct use of capitalization, spelling, punctuation and syntax. The catch is that you will have only one week to meet the challenge! Can you see how this forces you to change your thinking? Instead of encouraging the use of trial and error and other popular time-consuming methods, you must now consider more efficient approaches in order to win the prize. The entire process must be developmentally appropriate to ensure his success in every progressive step towards the finish line. This is not rocket science.
     

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