They give degrees out to just anyone these days:
The eraser is an instrument of the devil because it perpetuates a culture of shame about error. It’s a way of lying to the world, which says ‘I didn’t make a mistake. I got it right first time.’ That’s what happens when you can rub it out and replace it.
Instead, we need a culture where children are not afraid to make mistakes, they look at their mistakes and they learn from them, where they are continuously reflecting and improving on what they’ve done, not being enthralled to getting the right answer quickly and looking smart.
They need to be interested in the process of getting the right answer because that’s what it is like in the big wide world.
That’s cognitive scientist Guy Claxton of King’s College.
Would you like to take odds on whether or not Guy uses his backspace key?
Here’s the thing, Guy: an eraser isn’t a tool of deception. It says, “I made a mistake, caught the mistake, and corrected it when I checked my work, the way my teacher taught me to do.” It says, “I’m not going cross out something and leave a confusing mess on the page so my poor teacher can tear her hair out trying to figure out what the deuce I’m saying.”
I’ve been brought in to lower and middle school classes to teach students how to revise their writing. The teachers can’t get kids to proof their work. They think if a “real writer” goes over his process and teaches the benefits of checking and correcting, maybe it will sink in better. I call an eraser and backspace key their best friends. I say something isn’t written until it’s rewritten. I point out that revision isn’t something extra: it’s part of the process of writing and problem solving.
Of course mistakes are part of the learning process. So is fixing mistakes!
Guy has a solution that’s not at all insane:
Ban the eraser, get a big road sign with an eraser and put a big, red bar across it and get kids to say you don’t scrub out your mistakes, highlight them because mistakes are your friends, they are your teachers.
Yes, and erasing them says, “I have caught my mistake, and corrected it.”