As we all know, there are plenty of struggles these days. At South Oaks, we are focusing on “pandemic recovery” of the academic gaps caused by COVID. We are also trying to attend to the social emotional recovery of our students from the pandemic experience. Recovering can be a challenge and it requires a lot of patience and hard work.

Recently, I came across an article by Diane Benson Harrington called, “Productive Struggle; what it is and how to achieve it”. In the article she begins by saying “So many students this year are struggling — struggling to fill in holes from the previous years’ learning, struggling to absorb new material despite those gaps and struggling to find their place in the school’s social community. To get through it, they need to understand and embrace productive struggle“.

She goes on to say that, “Just like stress can be good or bad, struggle also has two faces. The good kind is productive struggle”. This connects quite well with the concept of grit, which we discovered when doing Deeper Learning work. In fact, in our school, you will sometimes hear teachers and students say, “Have grit. Don’t quit”. This is a reminder that struggle is part of learning. We don’t want students to give up when things get tough, but rather, see the path ahead, despite some struggle. This is really linked to a growth mindset, rather than a fixed mindset.

So, if you are struggling or if you see your kids struggling, you are in good company! Our hope is that your kids will find South Oaks to be a place that will support them as they face struggles, so they are not overwhelmed or feel defeated. As Harrington concludes, “knowing that a community of teachers and peers are there to catch them when they stumble can make all the difference”.

Have a great November!

Dale Martens

in: General