Saturday, February 13, 2010

Simple and Easy = Intimidating

When explaining something to someone, teachers like to be very encouraging and helpful to their students. Afterall, we tend to have their best interests in mind. However, sometimes our good intentions aren't good enough.

Consider this:

A student is intimidated by a certain skill or project, and so the teacher says to the student:

"Don't worry. You can do it. It's easy."

So the student takes your word for it. They make an attempt. And they fail.

My fear is that the student heard the teacher say the task was easy but they failed, and now they are left thinking that they must by dumb. Afterall, they couldn't even do something that was suppose to be easy!

My suggestion: there's no need to say something is easy. Let the student decide for themselves. We gain very little by saying something is easy - if the kid succeeds, it certainly won't be because you said it was easy, and if they fail, you saying it was easy will only complicate things.

For best results, encourage students, guide students but don't sell something as easy (even if you think it is).


  1. Just lost my comments so testing before I compose another.

  2. I realized a couple of years ago that most of the activities that I use now in Gr 8-10 Humanities are ones that everyone can enter into from where they are at in a satisfying, engaging, or meaningful way. If it doesn't have a doorway for all; those who will take it to the nth degree, those who will address what I intended, and those who will move further along than where they started, then it just isn't functional (ie. I can't make things work) in classroom setting. @djkirk19 (not sure why I am called Hum 9 Planning team)

  3. Good point. I've done that before so lately when my students say something is going to be hard I just tell them, "try, you might like it," and "I think it's worth it so let's give it a shot." I mean, I am there after all to help them. But yeah, saying it's easy doesn't seem to really work.


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