Right to Learn, Part 3: Challenge-Deficit

If you are new to Minds On Fire, you may want to start with True Confessions — it cuts to the core of what I’ll be exploring on the blog. You can find Part 1 of Right to Learn here.

School without challenge is boring. It breeds contempt. It fails to further a student’s ability to learn. High-school dropouts frequently cite boredom as a major factor in their choice to drop out.

And yet, people often underestimate the importance of keeping students challenged — especially in primary school and especially for students that seem to be quick learners. What is there to worry about? They will have no problem keeping up.

In the run up to kindergarten, my wife and I fretted over our son’s school options. Though we believe strongly in public education, our local school did not seem like a good option. Our son, at 4-1/2 , was already reading above kindergarten level and was adding a grade level or more every few months without any guidance from us. Who knew where he would be when kindergarten started? You see, our neighborhood primary school is something of a disaster with more than 75% percent of the students … Read the rest

Right To Learn, Part 2

If you are new to Minds On Fire, I recommend starting with True Confessions — it cuts to the core of what I’ll be exploring on this site.

In Right To Learn, Part 1, I introduced the notion that there are Universal Needs shared by all learners and that it is not always possible to serve those needs for every student when class assignments are determined by by age rather than cognitive ability — because not all kids develop at the same rate.

In this post, I’d like to start with a description of two needs that are often poorly served for asynchronous learners: Challenge and Peers. In the next post, I’ll go deeper into the implications for asynchronous learners.

Learning to learn is one of education’s most valuable contributions to individual growth, more important than the skills and content knowledge used to nurture this ability. An important part of learning to learn is cultivating the ability to work through challenges and setbacks. Even towering geniuses must develop this skill[1]. Research shows that failure to develop it can contribute to fragility even for students that show signs … Read the rest