October 23, 2019
Volume 3, Number 5
Mistakes are Opportunities to Learn:
Mastery Learning
Almost forty years ago when I began teaching special education students, we used a model called FIE (Feuerstein’s Instructional Enrichment) (1980; 2004) which focused on helping students see their learning mistakes and guiding them through prompts to relearn or correct the concepts and skills. Years later while observing a student teacher in a classroom, I saw the following poster repeated all along the wall of the classroom: “Mistakes are opportunities to learn”. 

Our goal as professors is to ensure that our students master the content and skills (or learning outcomes). Why is it then that we focus more on the grade and not the mastery of the content? Mastery learning ensures that a student has “mastered” a certain level of success prior to moving on to a next level. Feedback, scaffolding and opportunities to relearn and revise are central to the process (Guskey, 2009).

If a student gets a low grade in an assignment or a test but then demonstrates that they have analyzed where went wrong, how to correct their mistake, relearn the material, revise their work, and master the concepts prior to the end of the semester, shouldn’t we acknowledge that with an improved grade? Intensive writing courses frequently use this approach as part of the writing process by having students submit drafts, receive feedback and then revise their work. Graduate students always get feedback on each chapter and revise their work before their dissertation is approved. How can we apply this into other disciplines including STEM courses?   Not only will students feel successful because they will earn a higher grade, but we as instructors can feel successful, knowing that by the time the student has completed the course, they have mastered the concepts and skills necessary to move on to the next level.

Suggested Practice:
  1. Create a culture and learning environment that values and rewards students for mastery learning and learning from their mistakes. Post signs such as “Mistakes are opportunities to learn”. 
  2. Share personal experiences that highlight times that you as an instructor were not initially successful but that you persisted, analyzed what you did wrong and learned from your mistakes. Have students share similar experiences.
  3. Provide assignments and assessments that allow for feedback, analysis of mistakes and revision.
  4. If you give tests, take them up in class and review common patterns of mistakes that students tend to make. Discuss what the mistake was and how this can be corrected.
  5. In smaller classes, work individually with students to diagnose how and why mistakes were made and guide students on how to correct the problems.
  6. Give students an opportunity to retake a different test or assignment that covers the same concepts or skills.

  • Feuerstein, R., Feuerstein, S., Falik, L & Rand, Y. (1979; 2002). Dynamic assessments of cognitive modifiability. ICELP Press, Jerusalem: Israel
  • Feuerstein, R. Rand, Y., Hoffman, M.B., & Miller, R. (1980; 2004). Instrumental enrichment: An intervention program for cognitive modifiability. Baltimore, MD. University Park Press.
  • Guskey, T.R.(2009). Mastery Learning in 21st Century education: A reference handbook, vol 1 ed. T.L. Good. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

by Judy Ableser, Director, Center for Teaching Excellence in Teaching & Learning, Oakland University
What I Love About Teaching Campaign
Hello Educators,
We are looking for your response to the question "What do you love about teaching?"

While enjoying the summer, take a few moments to share your response by clicking the link below:
Events on Campus
Here are opportunities for students (and maybe you) on campus:

MSU Event  :
  • Gather & Share - Monday, November 4, 3:45pm to 4:45pm, ADUC 310. Topic: Trust. Join FCTL in exploring “Curiosity” at this “Gather & Share” event. Come ready to “chat it up” with your colleagues on this important topic. Refreshments will be served.

MSU Event  :
  • LinkedIn Lab - Wednesday, November 6, 2:15pm to 4pm, Bert Combs Building, Room 302. Drop in and learn how to build or improve your LinkedIn profile and use it to expand your professional network. Come professionally dressed for a free photo.
KOSS Conference
KOSS (Kentucky Organization for Student Success) Conference, October 24-25, 2019, at the Historic Boone Tavern Hotel in Berea. For more information, checkout their FaceBook page:
19th Annual   Posters-at-the-Capitol
March 5th, Frankfort

The   Link to Register  is:
Posters-at-the-Capitol   an event hosted collaboratively by Eastern Kentucky University, Kentucky Community and Technical College System, Kentucky State University, Morehead State University, Murray State University, Northern Kentucky University, University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, and Western Kentucky University, is intended to help members of Kentucky’s legislature and the Governor better understand the importance of involving undergraduates in research, scholarly, and creative work. It provides undergraduates with the opportunity to engage in scholarship, research, and creative work that is important to their educational experience and professional development. We encourage faculty to have their students participate in   Posters-at-the-Capitol to help those in Kentucky who fund higher education understand why these experiences are so important. 
12th Annual Conference on
Higher Education Pedagogy

February 5-7, 2020  

Virginia Tech/Blacksburg, Virginia, USA   

For information about conference registration and associated fees, visit the conference website: https://chep.teaching.vt.edu/

If you have an interest in attending this conference as part of an MSU cohort, send an email identifying your interest (why), what you hope to gain from the conference, and what you will be willing to share with the MSU community upon your return to fctl@moreheadstate.edu
Magna (Online) Webinars
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Featured Webinars:

How Do I Assign Students to Groups?
Numerous research studies have shown group work is one of the best ways to help students learn. This webinar:
  • Defines what group work is.
  • Outlines key factors to facilitate group learning.

How Can I Make Online Group Projects More Effective?
This webinar examines the fundamental concepts of collaborative learning including how to:
  • Implement online group work.
  • Integrate appropriate technology.
  • Enhance asynchronous collaboration.

Accessing Webinars:

These licensed Magna resources are available through a password-protected website. For access, faculty need to:
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  • If Magna isn't showing up in your list of courses, please send a request to be added to msuonline@moreheadstate.edu.
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Benefits of Magna Webinars:

I understand that you have a lot on your plate, so let me give you a few reasons why you should consider trying a Magna webinar:
  • Each webinar takes approximately 20 minutes to complete.
  • All webinars are available on your schedule since they are online and easily accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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