I want my students to see graphing as a subtle, meaningful craft. But when I mess up and assign too many graphs for homework, they just sprint through them, cranking them out like cheap factory products. It goes something like this…
Ever had a long computation that felt like this?
Instead, failure is born from a messy combination of bad circumstances: high anxiety, low motivation, gaps in background knowledge. Most of all, we fail because, when the moment comes to confront our shortcomings and open ourselves up to teachers and peers, we panic and deploy our defenses instead. For the same reason that I pushed away Topology, struggling students push me away now.
With the Trigonometry class struggling, I attempt a pep talk. As usual, the students swiftly grasp my metaphor - and then hijack it. Me: You've seen hermit crabs, right? They move from shell to shell throughout their lives. And it's scary for them to leave their warm, safe shells behind. It makes them feel anxious … Continue reading The Anxieties of Hermit Crabs