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How To Keep Students From Getting Frustrated When They Make Errors

American poet Nikki Giovanni wisely said, “Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response to the error that counts.”

While most adults can recognize the truth and value in this statement, children don’t always see things this way.

Many students are high achieving and perfectionists and expect that they’ll get things right the first time, sans errors.

When it comes to typing (and most things), it’s nearly unheard of to never make an error.

Errors are part of the learning process! Unfortunately, though, for some students a few errors can entirely derail a typing lesson.

So how can teachers keep students from getting frustrated when they make typing errors?

Read on of some of our favorite tips and ideas.

Institute a Typing Pause

The longer students are sitting in front of their computers, the more frequently they’re likely to get frustrated.

Even if your typing block is only 20 minutes long, it’s a good idea to have a mandated “pause” in the middle. Give students 30 seconds to stand, stretch, wiggle their fingers, and then get back to the lesson at hand.

Depending on the age of your students, you might want to have a pause every 8 to 10 minutes.

Model Making Mistakes

Even expert typists make mistakes in the heat of the moment. It’s important to let student know this.

Login to Typing.com as a student and project your screen for your class to see. Then, model what authentic typing practice should look like.

Will it include some mistakes? Definitely. Will you give up, get angry, or restart a lesson every time you make a mistake? No way!

If students can see that learning to type is a process that requires some errors, they’re more likely to be okay with making their own errors along the way.

Reward Resilience

Students of all ages are eager to impress their teachers, especially if there are rewards involved.

Find ways in your class to acknowledge and reward students who stay focused on their typing lessons, even in the face of frustrating errors.

You could shout out these kids at the end of a lesson, find a place on your wall to highlight the most resilient typists, or even incentivize students with a candy or small prize at the end of the week.

This is especially powerful because you aren’t recognizing the fastest typists, but instead the ones who have the best attitude towards learning.

Set Ground Rules

Decide how you want students to approach mistakes that they make in the moment and set clear ground rules for what is and isn’t appropriate behavior.

Some students will be tempted to go back and restart a lesson the second they make a mistake. This is not only time consuming, but frustrating as it’s difficult to complete a lesson with 100% accuracy.

Set clear expectations for when it is and isn’t ok for students to restart a lesson. Have clear procedures in place for when kids finish a lesson with less than desired accuracy.

Show Non-Exemplars

Some students can get REALLY worked up about making mistakes in their work. When it comes to typing this can lead to a downward spiral as they lose focus and continue to make more and more errors.

If you notice this happening with your students, take a few minutes at the beginning of class to demonstrate non-exemplar behavior when it comes to typing.

You can do this yourself, or have a particularly theatrical student act out what it looks like to get overly frustrated while typing.

Then have the rest of the class share out reasons why this isn’t a productive way to act.

What other tips or techniques do you use in your class to keep students focused and working, even when they make a dreaded mistake? Share your favorite tips in the comments below!


One thought on “How To Keep Students From Getting Frustrated When They Make Errors

  1. We type for 20 minutes and the kids get antsy, frustrated and just tired of sitting for so long. I like to get the kids up and moving with a quick 3-5 minute exercise break about 10 minutes into the typing session. I use a website with a wide selection of activities (gonoodle.com) with great music and easy moves to get the blood flowing.
    Other times we just stop, stand up, shake out our hands and jump up and down!
    They return to typing focused and ready to finish up the last 10 minutes.

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