Here’s science behind building independence & helping your student be a learner
When we are faced with challenges, our brains are activated to learn new things—so long as a foundation of safety, belonging, and trust is there as well.
- how we grow our knowledge base,
- how we improve our skill base,
but it also, equally important, is
- how we build our sense of agency,
- how we build our identity as a learner, as a competent person.
It’s very important, if we’re going to challenge young people, that we’re setting them up for success. We have to provide support in the early stages of that challenge, but by the end, the young person has to really feel like they can tackle this on their own.
So comfort zone, we like to say, is maybe you snuggled up on your couch with hot cocoa, watching TV. It’s where we feel safe, but there’s not a lot of learning that happens in the comfort zone.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have your panic zone, where your body’s going into its flight or fight response, and learning
doesn’t really happen there either, because you’re in survival mode.
In between that is the sweet spot that we call your challenge zone or your learning zone.
Learning starts with relationships. Building trust with adults is important. That happens over time, but it also can happen very quickly, when adults demonstrate to teens that they’ve taken the time to understand who they are.
It also means
- having the social support of a group of peers who are equally engaged,
- who can help different people learn different things from each other.
This understanding of brain science underpins the active and group learning we use in Newport classrooms. Reading a text alone won’t spark this kind of learning—of understanding.
When successes happen in the challenge zone,
- that’s where you learn about yourself and
- you learn about your environment, and
- those are the lessons that students will carrying with them.
From Edutopia 10/9/2020