Bartlett Ninth Grade Academy

Productive Struggle Is a Learner's Sweet Spot

“Rigor is a buzzword in today's educational circles, but there are many misunderstandings about the concept. Although rigor means having high expectations for all students, those expectations must be accompanied by appropriate support. Student success occurs when you create an instructional environment that sets high expectations for each student and provides scaffolding without offering excessive help. The key is to incorporate productive struggle.
Productive struggle is what I call the "sweet spot" in between scaffolding and support. Rather than immediately helping students at the first sign of trouble, we should allow them to work through struggles independently before we offer assistance. That may sound counterintuitive, since many of us assume that helping students learn means protecting them from negative feelings of frustration. But for students to become independent learners, they must learn to persist in the face of challenge.”

- Barbara R. Blackburn, Productive Struggle Is a Learner's Sweet Spot - Educational Leadership, December 13, 2018 | Volume 14 | Issue 11