Friday, January 6, 2017

Ways to Encourage Persistence

Calculator, Math, Mathematics, Education  One of the things we have to work with students is perseverance.  As  you know many of my students are ELL and they find it difficult to continue working on problems and are more likely to give up. 

What are some ways to help students perseverance, so they are less likely to give up and more willing to work their way through the problems.  Unfortunately, research indicates if a student cannot solve a problem within a few minutes, they are more likely to give up.


1.  It is suggested teachers model their own thinking as they solve problems.  This means they talk out loud what is going through their minds as they solve a problem.  This can include discussing being perplexed at one point and sharing what makes it perplexing.  As students see this, they see how to verbalize their own questions.

2. Teachers should also encourage think time.  In other words, students should be allowed time to think about how they are going to solve the problems.  They need time to consider ways to solve the problem so you cannot expect a quick answer.

3.  Encourage students to solving problems using a variety of methods.  By exposing them to a variety of ways, they can choose the method that makes the most sense to them. This also allows them the tools to try different methods if one does not work.

4. Teachers can plan to build persistence.  One way fo doing this is to ask questions such as "Tell me more about it." or "Can you say that in a different way so other understand?" or "Can you put that in your own words."

5. Communicate with students and parents about attitudes on math such as thinking you are not good at math is a learned attitude.   Many parents and students believe the ability to do mathematics is based on talent rather than effort. 

6.  Expect students to share their ideas with others verbally while commenting on others ideas.  They are asked to go to the board to share their ideas and solutions.  They can include representations to show how they see it.

7. Help students realize that it is OK to make mistakes. They should think of mistakes as problems ot be solved or as honing their skills.

I like some of these suggestions and I plan to implement some of them.  I already show students different methods for solving problems but there is more I can do such as verbalize my thinking.  Let me know what you think.

Have a good day.