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I watched a really interesting documentary this week, ‘Life at Five’. which followed on from ‘Life at Three’ and ‘Life at One’. Incidentally I watched it on our  i-pad using the ABC iview app and the program is still available if you are interested.

Five years ago eleven Australian children were handpicked to follow on their journey through life. Now they are five and running towards the primary school gate. No longer babies, our eleven now have plenty to say for themselves and their lives have moved in surprising and different directions.

What struck me with this weeks episode was several of the research statistics that were quoted. They struck such a chord in fact, that I paused my i-pad to write them down.

Research shows that success in education depends on three things, communication, desire to learn and the ability to fit in with others. We all know the students who just don’t get the social cues in the classroom, who somehow can’t work out how to fit in. In my teaching experience these students can range in ability from the truly gifted to the struggler. So how do we as teachers help the square pegs fit in the round hole that is school? I’m not sure I have the answers, I wish I did. I know that my co-teacher and I work hard to provide a differentiated and diverse program that offers choice and integrates technology so as to hook our students, to engage them in their learning. I know we do grab those with the desire to learn. Perhaps all I can hope for is that the square peg has this desire?

I also wrote down this Children who show more persistence will do better at school. Persistence enhances a child’s ability to learn. This quote came to my mind today when I was on playground duty today. I watched a kindergarten student trying to climb across the monkey bars, over and over again she got up and fell off, over and over again she persisted to the point where she developed a blister on one of her hands. She showed determination and persistence. Will she transfer that to the classroom, I expect and hope so.

Or perhaps this persistence will diminish over time and she will be the student who arrives in year 5 ready to give up with maths? Worn down by the need to learn and understand todays fast paced mathematics curriculum. I hope though, she will be the student who has developed the desire to learn. Who has decided that persistence is the key to learning and understanding.

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2 comments

  1. Hello Mrs. Miller,
    My Name is Jordan Sellers and I am a college student of Dr. John Strange in EDM 310 at The University of South Alabama. I haven’t seen this program that you are referring to in your post, but the points that you make seem to be completely valid. I have three children (my son is 11, and my twin girls are 9) that I find to have the same issues facing them in their school lives. My son is definitely the one that I am most concerned about, but mainly with his persistence. Socially all three of them excel beyond the average children their age, and for that I am grateful. So my main problem is the persistence, or lack of that my son is showing. I don’t think it’s is a problem understanding, I think that it is a problem of not wanting to put in the work, if he doesn’t get something in the first five minutes he loses interest and does not want to continue. However, once he gets something or finds something interesting he finishes his assignments in no time. If you know of anyway to gather a boy attention or make things more interesting I would love to here from you, you can follow my blog at http://SellersJordanedm310.blogspot.com , or the clas blog for EDM 310 class blog at http://edm310.blogspot.com .

  2. Thank you for this post! I hope that the child you were talking about on the monkey bars and other students like her will keep that persistence and not become discouraged! I also hope that you will persist in your efforts to make the “square pegs” fit into the “round hole” that is school. You’re right, it’s difficult to find ways to do this for some students.