struggle + perseverance = learning

How are we facilitating experience where learners can risk and grow in sense making and perseverance?  We want every learner to be able to say:

I can make sense of tasks and persevere in solving them.

An important and powerful aspect of teachers’ practice concerns the ways in which they treat mistakes in mathematics classrooms. Research has shown that mistakes are important opportunities for learning and growth, but students routinely regard mistakes as indicators of their own low ability. (Boaler, n. pag.)

Do we teach mistakes as opportunities to learn? What if we slow down – pause – to reflect on what didn’t work well and plan a new tact?

In analyzing a series of setbacks, a key question to ask is Am I failing differently each time? “If you keep making the same mistakes again and again,” the IDEO founder David Kelley has observed, “you aren’t learning anything. If you keep making new and different mistakes, that means you are doing new things and learning new things.”(Berger, 124 pag.)

How might we take up the challenge to focus on learning? What if we teach the importance of struggle?

Struggle is not optional—it’s neurologically required: in order to get your skill circuit to fire optimally, you must by definition fire the circuit suboptimally; you must make mistakes and pay attention to those mistakes; you must slowly teach your circuit. You must also keep firing that circuit—i.e., practicing—in order to keep myelin functioning properly. After all, myelin is living tissue. (Coyle, 43-44 pag.)

I can make sense of tasks and persevere in solving them.

How might we amplify the important practice of how we treat mistakes? What if we teach and learn how to pay attention to mistakes and how to change based on what we learn?

What pathways to learning are illuminated in order to highlight learning = struggle + perseverance?

What if we slow down to focus on learning?


Berger, Warren (2014-03-04). A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas . BLOOMSBURY PUBLISHING. Kindle Edition.

Boaler, Jo. “Ability and Mathematics: The Mindset Revolution That Is Reshaping Education.” Forum 55.1 (2013): 143. FORUM: For Promoting 3-19 Comprehensive Education. SYMPOSIUM BOOKS Ltd, 2013. Web. 2015.

Coyle, Daniel (2009-04-16). The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How. Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

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