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225 Friend Street, Suite 704
Boston, MA 02114

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ANet is a nonprofit dedicated to the premise that every child in America deserves an excellent education and the opportunities it provides. We pursue our vision of educational equality in America by helping schools boost student learning with great teaching that is grounded in standards, informed by data, and built on the successful practices of educators around the country.

Creating a “culture of error” to accelerate progress

ANet blog

As a mission-driven nonprofit organization, our primary concern is helping ensure equitable opportunity for all students.

Working alongside schools, we’ve learned that great teaching is grounded in standards, data, and insights shared among educators. We believe a blog can help us make a difference by spreading the ideas and effective practices of educators we work with.

We’re proud of the expertise our team has built over our ten years, and we'll be featuring contributions from ANetters across the org on topics in which they’ve immersed themselves.

Help us spread opportunity for all students: please share posts that you find valuable with your colleagues. And please add your thoughts in the comments: we would love this blog to facilitate knowledge-sharing in all directions.

Creating a “culture of error” to accelerate progress

Jeff Odell

by Sarah Tierney

Teachers rely on student errors to help guide their instruction and tailor support to what students need most. But how do teachers and leaders get that same information about their own performance so they can be proactive when it comes to development?

Creating a culture of error not only for students, but for adults, too, is a critical first step to accelerate improvement. Doug Lemov says it best: A culture of error is “an environment where [teachers] feel safe making and discussing mistakes, so you can spend less time hunting for errors and more time fixing them.” 

Mistakes are powerful tools for learning.

When teachers and leaders are open about the challenges they’re up against, they can make the leap to thinking about how to improve much more quickly. Time and energy is no longer spent trying to uncover challenges and struggles, but on developing high-need, high-impact areas of teacher and leader practice. Mistakes become something to share rather than hide, because they're seen as an essential ingredient for improvement.


We’ve spent ten years learning from thousands of leaders and teachers across the country about the things that make a big difference for schools. Now, we want to give you the opportunity to do the same. We’ve organized these Lessons From the Field in a new section of our website by our main areas of focus—everything from harnessing the power of formative assessments to fostering a culture of adult learning.

Sarah is a director of new partnerships and former coach at ANet. She’s leading the Lessons From the Field project.

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