How to help students accept their mistakes
So why don’t students view mistakes as a valuable tool for their improvement? The answer is that they don’t think about them rationally but emotionally. Mistakes make them feel stupid. Specifically, it's the feeling of shame they feel and their natural response to avoid its source.
For example, if we say something embarrassing, we hide our face. So students, if they get a bad grade, they hide the test away. That’s the worst behavior for a student who wants to become better. Moreover, academic success does not come from how smart or motivated students are. It comes from how they feel about their mistakes.
Changing students' perspective on mistakes is the greatest gift you can give yourself as a teacher. Every teacher’s dream is to have a classroom of students who are engaged and constantly improving. Instead, teachers nowadays face too many students who are disengaged and really rather surly.
To help your students rethink mistakes, teach them to be specific about their errors. Knowing that an answer is wrong doesn't mean much, but helping them to understand their mistake you give them an extra incentive for future improvement.
You can also help students view their mistakes as helpful. One way to encourage that attitude is to take the most common mistakes that the class made on a test and analyze them together. The more open everyone is about the mistakes they've made, the less significance any student will place on future errors.