productive struggle


We as teachers are so used to making each instructional minute count that we seldom provide slack time. We define slack as space in the curriculum in which students need to go through the process of determining their next logical steps. The process requires patience on the part of teachers and the qualities of curiosity and responsibility on the part of students. Teacher patience, because slack can look like wasted time (we do not think it is!) and curiosity and responsibility, because learning is ultimately up to the student. We often, traditionally, speed things up by reducing variables, declaring exactly what step comes next, cleaning the learning path up, and holding students’ hands. But we should perhaps let them struggle through the process a whole lot more.