Are erasers/rubbers ‘instruments of the devil’?
As a lower primary teacher, I have often banned rubbers/erasers from my classroom, except for art activities. This is because I have found that erasers/rubbers not only become a distraction and can lead to emerging writers only writing a couple of words in a whole session. But also, I do not feel that the message that rubbers/erasers teach children is a good lesson for them to learn.
By using an eraser/rubber, children become ashamed of the mistakes that they make and become anxious about making a mark on a page if it is not the “correct” one. I believe that a far greater lesson is helping children to develop a sense of true learning by being able to make mistakes and be proud that they can learn from their mistakes. This lends itself to Carol Dweck’s growth mindset where students believe that their brain can grow, intelligence is not fixed, and where effort has a greater value.
Guy Claxton, a cognitivist scientist says that students should be taught to acknowledge their mistakes because that’s the way the world works and teachers society should be moving away from placing too much importance on grades. We need a culture where students are not afraid to make mistakes, but instead are able to learn from them. They should be able to continuously reflect and improve on what they have done. By banning rubbers/erasers children would be learning resilience as well as building character to prepare them for their adult lives.
Instead of using erasers/rubbers at school, teachers should be encouraging the editing part of the writing process, where children can cross out mistakes or make amendments, as evidence of their reflection and thought processes.