Making Math Count in WHPS
Having Grit as a Teacher
Today I am writing about teacher grit and never giving up. I recently read an article by Jeffery Benson called 100 Repetitions. This article is about teaching the toughest students to teach. In the article the author is teaching students with drug problems and other extreme learning interrupters, but he is reminded by a colleague it sometime takes 100 repetitions for some to learn.
While we may not be teaching students in elementary school that are on drugs, many of our students face other trials that can make it challenging to be available to learn. Benson says we need to be prepared with 100 useful repetitions. This requires us, as educators to develop our own grit. Teaching, like problem solving, takes reflection and perseverance. We must learn from every attempt to teach and we must ask our students to learn something and reflect as they persevere in developing mathematical understanding or solving a problem. Maybe every attempt is not successful, but what is learned from each unsuccessful attempt? How does this mistake move us toward understanding? As a teacher, how can we help them connect their mistakes to develop more understanding?
100 Useful Repetitions
100 Useful Repetitions in Math
- Make the connections - Consistently seek a way to connect models to understanding. Connect to what students do understand and build on it to the next concept.
- Use models - Modeling builds understanding in mathematics. Even after students understand more efficient strategies, have students prove understanding with models. It will ground their understanding and give you tools for building to the next concept.
- Encourage social learning - Collaborative conversations require students to verbalize thinking, allow students to hear the understandings of others, and develop flexible thinking about math as students connect models and ideas for one another. Remember, the person doing the talking is doing the learning.
- Focus on what students can do - When a student is not yet able to understand or successfully do something in math, go back to what they can do and build on that. Again, make connections building on solid understanding to move thinking and learning forward.
- Choose high-quality, challenging tasks - Don't limit the challenge of the work because a student faces difficulty. Instead continue to offer high-quality tasks with supports for attacking challenging problems. Help students find their way in, but let the student do the thinking.