Essential Question: To what extent should we allow students to figure things out for themselves?
I have a hard time with this topic, letting kids make mistakes. However, figuring things out for themselves is part of growing up, mistakes are part of growing. I had a really hard time with letting my kids turn in their homework with the wrong answers. I have a hard time with watching my kids play and get hurt. My husband has to remind me that they need to learn on their own within reason. We can care of our kids and students without being helicopter or free range parents.
In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing. Theodore Roosevelt
Flow is that feeling when you and your students are in a “zone.” The goal for a teacher is to design instruction that presents a challenge that matches our student’s skill level. The learning is happening at just the right pace. The need to allow students to struggle with making their own meanings in the classes we teach, the difficulties of encouraging students to take risks in learning, and the important of doing everything possible to provide an environment that allows students to struggle safely.
Another approach is how we learn complex Math. We have many different scenarios and a formula. The true learning is using the formula over and over again until we are able to work out the answers.
To get parents and kids on board with the idea of struggle, educators say, they first need to be convinced that their struggle is likely to pay off. Or, as Stanford University professor Carol Dweck puts it, they need to have a “growth mindset” — the belief that success comes from effort — and not a “fixed mindset” — the notion that people succeed because they are born with a “gift” of intelligence or talent.
“It’s really hard to have high tolerance if you believe that your abilities or intelligence are fixed,” says Eduardo Briceno, CEO of Mindset Works, a company he co-founded with Dweck. “Because if you believe ‘I can’t change my own abilities,’ then trying hard doesn’t make any sense. It’s like pounding your head against the wall.”
*** This post has been added to my LiveText site:
Martinez, S. L., & Stager, G. (n.d.). Invent to learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom.
What is the value of letting students struggle in class? Teachers answer. Strauss, Valerie. April 21, 2015. Retrieved May 18, 2016, from What is the value of letting students struggle in class?
Constructive Struggling. Retrieved May 18, 2016, from Constructive Struggling: The value of Challenging our Students
Does Teaching Kids To Get ‘Gritty’ Help Them Get Ahead? Morning Edition. March 17, 2104. Retrieved May 18, 2016, from Does teaching kids to be “gritty” help them to get ahead?