What does good work really look like?
- It has mistakes. "Failure is just a step," says Joel Manby, President & CEO of Herschend Family Entertainment. If students are told they can't ever make mistakes on their own work, where will they end up making them? When will they learn to deal with them? Yes, we need perfection. I want the person building the bridges I drive on to build it perfectly. But a math paper doesn't have to be perfect. Your child's teacher NEEDS to know the mistakes your child makes. That is the truest form of communication in learning.
- It is their work. Resist the urge, parents! Put down the pencil, scissors, or computer. If you over help your student, you are telling them by your actions they aren't smart enough to do the work. Realize that your kids have to make mistakes in order to learn.
- It asks students to do more than regurgitate, skim the text, or Google the answer. While there is a place for fill-in-the-blank and multiple choice, those types of questions reach only the lowest levels of learning. Period. They are appropriate first steps, but if students are not asked to go beyond those tasks, they are not learning anything that will stick with them.
Trial and error is essential to cognitive growth. If our students were computers, we would expect them to spit out exactly what we put into their minds. But if all they do is guess...that is all they will do.
- It is not just a pretty picture.
- It is not just about right answers. As stated above, multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, and matching are okay for early learning tasks. But real work comes when students take what they have learned, and use it, create with it, apply it to other situations, and eventually pass it on to someone else.
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