3-Read Friday #003
Explanations, confidence and productive struggle
Here are three blog posts that I found interesting this week.
I’m obsessed with teacher explanations and worked examples. This post cites a fascinating study about whether it is best to show people how to do something, or tell them how to do something. I found the results surprising! What I really like is the way Andrew draws out important implications for teachers planning their own explanations.
I am currently preparing for a podcast with Pritesh Raichura about securing student attention, so I was fascinated by Nick’s post. Nick has been experimenting by asking his students to indicate how confident they feel about an answer by holding up their fingers: 1 finger is not at all confident, 5 fingers is very confident. Nick explains how he uses this information to determine whether to call upon students to explain, or to model the solution himself.
I have long wrestled with the idea of productive struggle. It sounds logical: create conditions where students struggle with a problem, and students should develop greater resilience and (somehow) greater conceptual understanding. But I have found many students - especially those who lack confidence in maths - simply give up. This post by Greg looks at a recent study that investigated the effect of productive struggle on maths anxiety. There is a spoiler alert in the title, but it is still a great read.
If you found this edition of 5-Read Friday useful, feel free to share it with colleagues. Also, you can check out all the back issues of my Eedi newsletter and Tips for Teachers newsletter here. But, most importantly of all, have a great weekend.
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