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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

'If things get hard, they just quit'

After three years of pandemic-disrupted schooling, students just don't care any more, complains a teacher on Chalkbeat's After the Bell column.


At the height of Covid, teachers were told to "give students grace," she writes. Assignments were excused. Expectations were lowered. Now students believe "there are no consequences" for refusing to do the work. "While I try to make lessons engaging and relevant, the lack of consequences is an added challenge for motivating students who are struggling. My students lack perseverance and grit — if things get hard, they just stop."


Photo: Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

"Relaxing standards and lowering expectations does students no favors in the long run," write Adam Tyner and Christian Eggers on Fordham's blog.


"Effortful thinking" builds students' "cognitive endurance," extending their ability to stay focused and work through challenges, concludes a newly published working paper.


The study was conducted in low-income elementary schools in India where students cope with crowded classroom, frequent disruptions and little time for "focused cognitive activity." While a control group copied math problems in an unsupervised "study hall," another group practiced solving math problems and a third group completed challenging puzzles or mazes. The sessions were 20 minutes long several times per week over several months.

Researchers looked at how quickly students' performance declined when taking a 50-question test. Students from lower-income families show steeper rates of performance decline, international studies show. In the U.S., write Tyner and Eggers, "Black and Hispanic students demonstrated a 72 percent steeper rate of decline in successfully answering questions than White students."


In the study, both groups that faced cognitive challenges were slower to tire on the test and earned slightly higher grades in math, English and Hindi.

"Athletes benefit from coaches who hold them accountable for going to practice and trying their hardest," conclude Tyner and Eggers. "Students benefit from hard cognitive training too." They need opportunities to build their mental muscles. "Watering down homework, curricula, and expectations may be undermining the foundations students are laying for their future success."

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31 comentarios


Invitado
10 ago 2022

I'd agree with that as someone who has had to work during the covid-19 shutdown in March 2020 going forward... Students are bound to have more issues than adults, but if they're in high school it will be the easiest thing they'll have to do in their lives.


Having to work a job you really don't like because you didn't want to obtain an education is a lot worse.


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Invitado
09 ago 2022

As a parent I have to say that the idea that teachers are now thinking that "giving students grace" during COVID was a mistake is hilarious! As if they could have done anything else! So many teachers had no clue how to use the new distance learning and online schooling tools that were forced on everyone that it was chaos. And the teachers that did figure it out all figured out something different, so that for one subject the assignments would be given in one location or form and a different teacher would put it in another. And then everything would change when they got some training and standardization just as the students got used to doing things the…


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Invitado
09 ago 2022

I found the article to be disorganized. The topic is fascinating but the presentation is a bit lacking. One paragraph it is talking about a study in India - very interesting - throw in a sentence or two about Black and Hispanic performance in the US and then return to the study in India. What is the connection between the study in India and Black and Hispanic students? The author has an idea that's worth exploring more but this entry is not ready for prime time - yet.

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mrsjtefft1
10 ago 2022
Contestando a

I think you are misunderstanding the value of this blog. Joanne is a master at digging up interesting and often underreported education research. She is careful to make sure that what she publishes is verifiable. She does not do a "deep dive", but she gives the reader links so that we can go to the sources and and make our own judgements.


I do miss the links to other websites that Joanne used to have. Is there any way to bring those back?

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Invitado
09 ago 2022

I'm concerned that many commenters on this post -- which does indeed reference a relevant issue in the US public education system (as well as other nations) -- are simply ranting about how terrible the system is overall. This is not true. Teachers are not trying to make children dumber, administrators are not venal criminals, and students in US public schools actually do just as well as their demographic peers in other countries do, often much better. I hope the quality of the conversation on Joanne's new blog platform will return to the tenor of the comments on her previous blog platform.

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Steve Sherman
Steve Sherman
08 ago 2022

My daughter graduated from Boston Latin a couple of years ago - before they changed the admissions - and it was f'ng hard - they offered all sorts of help to the kids all sort of extra help and tutoring - but no pity grades, partial credit, social promotion - if you didn't pass you had summer school - those kids go to top schools and it's easy for them because it's how they've been trained.

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Invitado
09 ago 2022
Contestando a

Boston Latin is an exam school that has nothing in common with 99% of other high schools in the U.S. It also has the problem that the students who finished near the bottom on their class should have gone somewhere else.

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