To Err Is Human; It's Also a Teaching Tool

Such are but a few of the reasons I make errors of fact, not regularly but often enough to provoke eternal vigilance. What I hope my students get out of analyzing their professor’s foibles is that everyone — they, I, the authors of textbooks, the president, Nobel Prize winners, and so on — makes mistakes. The crucial questions are why the mistakes are made, and what is to be done about them. Our duty as teachers is not to produce students who will always get their facts right, but to foster young thinkers who appreciate that facts are indeed worth getting right, and who then take the most important step of candid self-analysis when they get them wrong. —David D. PerlmutterTo Err Is Human; It’s Also a Teaching Tool (Chronicle)

The other day, when I came across the latest article written by a Seton Hill University journalism major who’s interning at the local paper, I proudly blogged it (to encourage her and the other journalism majors who need to start looking for internships soon).

The first comment in response to that blog entry was from someone who chastised the journalist for making a mistake. But the student responded, and now it seems the student was right after all. I felt bad that the blog entry I had posted prompted public criticism of my student’s work, but of course that’s what happens when one publishes anything.