I think this topic can be go both ways. There are students that will thrive on challenges and meet it head on with vigor, and at the same time there are students that will just shun and avoid them like the plague! I do believe teachers need to challenge all students in school. International critics say that American schools are “easy”, and there is some truth to that. I think we have gotten to the point in our educational system that it has become the norm to “water down” or scaffold to the point of not challenging students enough to struggle before learning.
I know that there are topics in math that I struggle with, probability. If it wasn’t for teacher edition books that have solutions (not all have worked out solutions), it would be very difficult to make sure I have the correct answer if students have problems with their assignment. But I am the type of person that will find out the correct way to solve a problem. It annoys me that I may not know how to solve a problem, and so I fixate until a solution is found.
I will continue to find ways for students to use constructive struggling in class. I don’t know how, but I work with students to help them solve problems. I need to have them struggle first. Really struggle. Talk among themselves to determine if anyone will have insight. Be a facilitator, not a “spoon feeder”. It will be difficult. Students will hate me. They will say it’s my job to “teach” them, but what they are saying is spoon feed them.
I don’t know if my classmates in this course teach high school, but one thing that I have found in my career is that its easy to get “tunnel vision” if you teach only one content area. I have been lucky in my career to teach a variety of subject areas (some not by choice), and I believe it is healthy and imperative to have a different perspective of students in another subject area. Some students that struggle with math are great photographers and artists. They thrive in language arts or science. I would never know certain students have gifts in other areas other than math. I am the type of teacher that believes that variety is the spice of life. Variety is great for students, and teachers.
I hope to use constructive struggling in the years to come, and this class has opened my eyes to possibilities.