I really believe that learning is not easy, that improvement is rarely instantaneous, but that every child can learn.
But then I have a classroom where students very rarely ever get a chance to "redo" something. For example, we just finished our speeches and one student is going on to the "finals" in the gym, where she will represent our class. But the process of getting to that decision didn't involve many opportunities for students to "try again". Students wrote their speech, presented it to several peers for feedback, handed a revised copy to me for feedback, revised some more, then presented to small groups, videotaped themselves and improved their speech and rehearsed until they were happy with it. However, the actual presentation to the full class didn't allow for any "do overs". Some students were quite surprised by how nervous they got, and at least four said, afterwards, "Can I do it again?" and my answer, sadly, was no.
I said no, even though I wanted to say yes because I'd have to offer that opportunity to everyone in the class, I had to have our finalist chosen by the following day, and I'd have to take valuable class time, that I can't afford, in order to sit through the second attempts. I could tell similar stories about tests, and projects and lots of assessment situations. I'm still treating assessment results as if they were autopsies instead of physicals. (That analogy, by the way, which I love, came from Joe Bower but he was talking about report cards).
So... the big thing I'm struggling with is how to align my beliefs with my practice because right now, they're miles apart.
How often do you allow the time for students to do something more than once? How do you do it? Please share your thoughts. I'd love to make some changes that work within the constraints of a public school reporting system and a classroom with 45 minute periods.