Time to struggle

We learn from our mistakes. 

 Mistakes help us to learn.

These phrases are used commonly enough. But they still feel token in a world where perfectionism and anxieties (performance anxiety, social anxiety and maths anxiety to name a few) are rife. 

I've spent a good deal of time navigating these myself and understand how disabling they can be. 

It's incredible how entrenched the fear of failure is in our culture.

In the realm of mathematics, in particular, there is still a great need to normalise and nurture mistakes. 

Time to struggle 

In this (4 minute) video, two young learners share what they notice and what they wonder before reasoning and problem-solving their way to a correct answer. 

You might like to consider: 

  • What does this conversation reveal about what students know and can do?
  • How might the interaction have played out if the teacher (me) had given the hint earlier? 
  • How does giving time to struggle support learning?


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Maths Play acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which we live, learn and work, and pay our respects to Elders past and present. Maths Play is dedicated to learning and operating in ways that acknowledge, respect, celebrate and learn from the original and beautiful cultures of these lands.