It’s a bad mirror, so I call it a mistake. “Mistakes grow your brain,” I say. “We expect them, respect them, inspect them, and correct them here,” I say. And if we have to label student ideas “mistakes,” maybe those are good messages to attach to that label.
But the vast majority of the work we label “mistakes” is students doing exactly what they meant to do.
We just don’t understand what they meant to do.