Speaking at the RIMA's
High Expectation's Conference, keynote speaker Kate Gerson
says, "The number one way we love our students is by rescuing them from struggle.
We hate and feel so uncomfortable with kids struggling."
When you pose a challenge just out of a kid's reach, she's
forced to think.
She'll have to sort through what she
already knows to come up with an educated, if not necessarily correct, answer.
The kid blinks at you, deer in the headlights.
You assure her she
can figure it out, but the wait for her
to wrestle through the problem is nerve-wracking.
Often we spare her
the struggle and give her
the answer, which she'll never remember.
dug around in her
prior knowledge and figured it out - or even come up with a wrong but thoughtful solution - she'd have exercised her
Gerson, teacher, principal and now CCSS Fellow with the NY Regents, explains that the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) encourage just this kind of challenge.
They cover fewer topics, allowing time for a deeper understanding of each. (CCSS offer clearly-written one-pagers about their philosophies about math and ELA that cut through a lot of the noise generated by the media.)
distinguishes between "productive struggle and toxic struggle."
says, "The CCSS demand that every single student gets smarter.
sees "students who know what you [the teacher] are looking for, so they know what words you want them to use.
But do they actually get what's going on?"
As a high school English teacher, Gerson all but danced Alice Walker's The Color Purple to convey her own passion for the book to her students.
CCSS is a complicated subject; Gerson
did a good job.