Posted by / Category Cultural Differences /

Almost possible to touch this plant? I would think twice.
Is it possible to be almost right? As much as I like the British way of always being positive and never say ‘no’, right now I am feeling very French. I was looking at one of my daughter’s maths tests. On one of the questions, the answer was £1.60. She had answered £1.75. In short, her answer was wrong.

In France, the teacher would have put a red cross and written ‘Wrong’. Not over here. The teacher had put ‘Almost correct’ and given her half a mark. I couldn’t believe it. Is there such a thing as being ‘almost correct’? I didn’t think there was. Well, clearly, I was wrong.

My daughter was very happy to have got it ‘almost’ right. I wasn’t. She clearly thought that I was a grumpy old woman. Correction: a strict mum. If the school was happy, why wouldn’t I be? The thing is, especially in maths, you can’t have it ‘almost right’. It is either right or wrong. When, in a shop, you are given your change back, it is correct or it isn’t. Period.

What does being ‘almost right’ mean anyway? How can you progress and do better next time if you are told that you were ‘almost correct’? Kids (and adults, actually) need to know what went wrong in order to learn from their mistakes. Making mistakes and failing is pretty normal, right? And it is not that big a deal. The sooner you learn from your mistakes, the better. How can you do this if you are not corrected? Why are people afraid, in this country, to correct kids?

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think that we should focus all the time on children’s mistakes. I am just saying that mistakes need to be corrected in order to move on to the next lesson/level. That’s all.

I know that life is not black and white. I know that, sometimes, the difference between success and failure is tiny. But it doesn’t mean that being ‘almost correct’ is ‘good enough, right? Or am I wrong?
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London