Struggling…

Today we were looking at the Khan Academy website.  The coaching dashboard allows me to see where the students are at in their learning.  It provides the following categories:

As we were looking at this, one student mentioned that they didn’t want anyone to know if they ever were in the struggling category.  The student was embarrassed to think that others would find out that they were struggling with a concept.

This reminded me of an article I had read recently, which I encourage you to read.  It brings up the idea of struggle and the cultural connotations around this word.  Depending on how you view struggle, changes the way you deal with struggles that you come across in your learning:

Obviously if struggle indicates weakness — a lack of intelligence — it makes you feel bad, and so you’re less likely to put up with it. But if struggle indicates strength — an ability to face down the challenges that inevitably occur when you are trying to learn something — you’re more willing to accept it.

As we discussed this further, I shared with the students the idea of peer coaching.  In previous classes, I have had a “Can Help/Need Help” board where students have been welcome to add their name to either side depending on if they feel confident in sharing their knowledge with others, or if they would like a classmate to work with them.  This is just one strategy that will be used in the coming year to help further our learning.

What does struggle mean to you?

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