The Learning Pit

I saw this on Mindshift today and thought it excellently captured what we want our students to experience as they spend time learning in our classes. I like to think of this as pleasantly frustrating, a term from James Paul Gee, who explained it this way:  “Learning should be both frustrating and life enhancing, … , pleasantly frustrating. The key is finding ways to make hard things life enhancing so that people keep going and don’t fall back on learning only what is simple and easy.”

The simple and easy is the learning that results when students leap over The Learning Pit. As a teacher, I used to think that this leap was good as my students weren’t frustrated, annoyed or ready to give up and made me feel like I was successful as a teacher. When I reflected on my own learning, I realized that my best ‘A-ha’ moments were when I had that opportunity to progress through the descent into and the ascent out of my own Learning Pit. That is when I truly felt like a competent learner and my self-confidence reflected this.

Perhaps, we need to give ourselves the freedom to let our students travel into and out of their own Learning Pits and let them experience the success of doing so.




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