Student Contributor: K. Scherbarth
The Learning Pit is a tool that clarifies to students that in order to experience deep learning, it will be difficult and it is okay to struggle. It is a picture that gives students a visual of how learning happens. They will learn that it is okay to fail, struggle, and have to work at a new skill before fully understanding and succeeding.
The Learning Pit refers to the idea that when you learn a new concept or skill, you experience a feeling of being stuck, a hard struggle, almost like there is a wall to climb over in order to begin to understand something. When you are learning something new, it can be difficult for your brain to grasp until you practice enough or until you try again to come to complete the new skill. The learning pit just explains the reality that when you learn something new, you may make a mistake, you may fail, and it may be difficult, but it doesn’t mean you can’t learn it. It just means you are in the learning pit and need to try again in a different way until you can get out of the learning pit. Many students in my placement classroom found themselves breaking down when they couldn’t understand something or made a few mistakes. This tool promotes perseverance and hope for students. It is helpful for them to know that they are not the only person who experiences this struggle when learning something new, but know that this is the only way deep learning can happen.
This tool can be used in all phases of management but is most useful in the supportive phase. We spent a lesson teaching about this learning pit through a PowerPoint and continued emphasizing it for a week in order to remind students. Now before an anticipated difficult problem, a test, or anything that we teach as a new concept, we go over the learning pit with students. It makes them feel relieved because they understand they are not the only ones that feel that way and there is hope to learn. We ask students what happens when they struggle and feel like your stuck, what do you do to come out of the learning pit. I think this could fit all theories of influence because it simply addresses the students who struggle to persevere and for those who maybe haven't had a difficult thing come into their life. This tool provides students confidence, hope, and a hardworking attitude that fits in any category.
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Tool Source: I found this tool from my mentor teacher who used this for the classroom.