I LOVE this phrase and I have learned to own it as a parent and as a teacher. If we really and truly believed it, it would change the way that we assess our students and the way that they see the grades that they receive.
My goal this year has been to teach my students that when I correct them whether it is an informal question and answer session, blogging or a formative assessment, I am giving them feedback, not failure. There is something about corrections that creates a great deal of angst in our kids. On Day 1, I had them repeat after me "making mistakes is part of learning another language". It is crucial for my students (and their parents) to understand this concept so that they can breathe and just learn. Likewise, I have to let go both of the temptation to give bogus grades for meaningless homework as well as giving them the freedom to grow as language learners and make mistakes.
This year, I am also experimenting with having 1:1 conferences with each student. I praised the student for what he/she did right and then addressed some of the problem areas. I pointed out the issue but had them tell me how to fix it. Often, I pointed them to resources so that they could find the information. I am keeping my fingers crossed that they will at least be aware of what they are writing/speaking now that I have explained it individually to them.
Another feedback tool that I am using is corrections on Google Drive. Students submit writing that way and I make notes of items that need attention. They make the changes, after I have pointed them out. I continue to address overall issues that multiple students are having. Instead of me explaining the problem and the solution. I asked the students to point it out and tell me how to fix it.
What I find ironic is that I didn't do as many 1:1 conferences in the past because they are time consuming. I was so busy teaching the hundreds of vocabulary words from the list and the multiple verbs and conjugations that they needed to learn, that I rushed from one assessment to another while buried up to my ears in grading. However, I find that my students are making much more progress this year with less amounts of content and targeted and specific corrections done through personal and group conferences.