Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Summer School - Day Twenty-Three - Advanced Students

In Summer School, I am finding it difficult to adequately address the needs of my one advanced student. I know he is only taking this course for "fun" and intends to take more challenging math in the regular school year. He is quietly biding his time. But, I would like to challenge him more.

I have given him several puzzles related to the topics we are covering. The results are challenging my understanding of advanced student. He is quick with the basic material and leaves the rest of the class behind. He clearly grasps concepts quickly and can explain his thinking well. But the puzzles have exposed a weakness in lateral thinking and creative problem solving.

For a long time I have questioned how teachers talk about smart students. I think we label too quickly. When a student repeats back to us what we taught and does so with a minimum of help from us, we think they are bright. And they are. But they really have demonstrated little real learning beyond the ability to memorize.

I want to challenge students to think for themselves. I want to see students think deeply about concepts and be able to articulate their understanding. I want to see students make intuitive leaps without my guidance. I want to see students try creative ways to solve problems and succeed... or fail. I want to see students respond to failure with excitement and more drive to succeed.

I want to see advanced students show advanced thinking.


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