Research finds that “the struggle” is key to students learning and retaining information.
Teachers, for far too long, have been seen by many as the “dispensers” of knowledge in the classroom; similarly, students are seen as the consumers of this knowledge. How then, do we break from this practice to ensure that students are taking ownership of their learning? McGrath suggests, “Instead of jumping in to show the way, provide the tools and time to encourage cognitive struggle to get students doing more while you say less.”
McGrath continues and references Jo Boaler, a well-known researcher and math educator, who has said that the struggle students face is critical to their learning in the classroom.
McGrath states, “Removing the struggle for students also removes the cognitive heavy lifting that leads to deep learning and understanding.”
She goes on to provide suggestions – based on brain research – that educators can follow in order to “shift [the] classroom culture so that getting stuck is valued over getting the right answer right away.”
These suggestions include the following:
– Reducing teacher talk time
– Using questions instead of explanations
– Plan critical observation time of student learning
– Provide non-teacher scaffolds
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