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Posts Tagged ‘Minus’

Do you want your child to be the strongest student in their class? Or maybe, one of the weakest so they learn more? Or how about if they were all at the same level so they learn together?

In fact, we often want all 3 of these situations.

This will be the first time in my writing that I reference the work of a mixed martial arts athlete, but I think Frank Shamrock is onto something with his “+,-,=” system.  In short, Shamrock’s theory is that in order to be the best you need to work with someone who is better than you, someone who is equal to you, and someone who is not as strong and you can teach.

I love the simplicity.

Now, I can see how this would be useful for an MMA fighter, but it has really struck me how this is really what we want for our kids as they develop –  whether that is in school, sports, arts or other areas.  When our students are in a class with those at a higher level, they see what is possible which pushes them to challenge themselves.  And we often try to set up peer tutoring situations for our students where they get to teach others, as this helps to further enhance the learning.  And those at the same level leads to great cooperative opportunities and shared learning experiences.

Of course as you batch students together in classes this is hard to create in every situation.  I think what matters is that as often as possible we are looking to create all three situations.  It is OK to be the best player on a sports team, but if you are always that player you miss out on the other two situations which are important for growth.  And if you are regularly the weakest player on a strong team, you never get to experience the opportunities that come with teaching others and being truly part of a group that is always challenging each other.

While education can get caught up in letter grades and awards, its core business is about always getting better.  We should strive to continually put our students in situations where they are perpetual learners – sometimes being taught, sometimes teaching and sometimes collectively working together.

 

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