Dealing With Student Frustration

“Frustration, although quite painful at times, is a very positive and essential part of success.”

– Bo Bennett

Okay so one thing I am really trying to focus on is student frustration.  Taking an inquiry type approach produces some feelings and reactions that my students do not usually relate to learning.  The frustration of having to try something only to have it not work is something my students are not used to.  My students are accustomed to instant solutions and are really challenged when the problem tests both their understanding and patience.  Experiencing frustration and successfully working through it is a valuable lesson and I think it can really help my students fall in love with learning.

I’ve been trying to learn as much as I can in order to help my students deal with their frustration. I think the  thing that has worked the best is providing my students a forum to share what they are experiencing.  At the start of the year, sitting down and spending five minutes talking about the challenges certain problems presented allowed my students to see that other students had the same frustrations.  As the semester has progressed we have become better at dealing with our frustration individually.  My students have been honest with me about their frustration, something that has helped them get accustomed to the process of working through it.  Creating a community has allowed my students to not only be vocal with their frustrations but it has also allowed me to gain their trust.

Having to deal with frustration and experience how frustration is an important part of learning has helped my students and I really look at learning from a different perspective.  I am loving the challenges that inquiry presents not only for my students, but myself as well. 


Using POEs to Teach Scientific Concepts

This past weekend a group of my classmates and I attended WestCAST 2012 in Calgary.  The conference was great and Friday afternoon our group lead a breakout session on “Using POEs with K-12 Students to Develop Scientific Content “.

What are POEs?  POEs stand for Predict, Observe and Explain; an important process for developing understanding.  POEs are typically focused around a brief science demo involving a series of questions. Students first develop a prediction of what they think will happen and why then proceed to observe the demonstration of a particular concept.  After making observations students refine and develop their prediction further to incorporate the concept they have just observed.

Why are POEs so great? POEs are extremely versatile and grounded in constructivist theory.  Teachers can develop POEs to be done individually or in groups. POEs can be altered by the questions the teacher asks and the assessment desired to:

  • assess prior knowledge
  • introduce and engage student’s to new content
  • assess what students have learned about a concept/ show a teacher what a student is thinking
  • generate discussion

How can I begin to use POEs? Our group (more particularly @webbkyle ) put together a wiki with all the POEs that we used at WestCAST here:

This is a great place to start if you are looking for ideas and activities to try.

A glimpse into the workshop for anyone not able to make it…