Today I had the privilege of experience utter frustration at a learning task. It was so aggravating! The materials provided to us for the activity did not have all of the information needed to make sense of the task. The missing bits did not appear to be intentional, it was more a lack of author clarity and completion (I think). To complete the task, I decided to make several assumptions that I would have much rather been given.
Why did I use the word “privilege” above? This frustrating experience gave me a taste of what my students may experience. I needed to feel that angst to better understand how they may react in a similar situation. I can also better understand why some students might give up and check out when presented with an incomplete set of instructions or guidelines. This experience reminded me how important it is to make sure my students are prepared for the tasks and have the resources or background knowledge to complete the tasks. Some frustration is good in lots of situations, but it must be manageable and not overwhelming.
Have you experienced a lesson in which your students became too frustrated? What did you do to resolve the conflict? Did you change the lesson the next time or the next day? What modifications were needed? How can we help our students work through frustration and keep learning? I would love to hear your strategies!