I was watching an interview with the psychologist Jonathan Haidt the other night, and he was talking about the different reactions to stress. Take a wine glass for instance - if you break a wine glass, that is bad and nothing good comes out of the stress inflicted on the glass. And then take a shatter-proof cup - if you drop it, it doesn’t break, so nothing bad happens, but nothing good happens either.
However, some things need stress placed on them for an optimal response. The immune system, for example, needs exposure to know how to fight illness. Bones need weight on them and stress to grow stronger. A learner is much like this because without challenge, failure, and stress, they will be unable to process failure and hardship as they grow older.
Now there’s stress, and then there’s stress. Bullying, for instance, is something I feel compelled to prevent however I can. Conflict and arguments during a game or sports, however, I feel the need to let the learners work that out themselves. Navigating social conflict in a way that doesn’t end in tears is something that is born out of exposure to the stress of that conflict.
Another type of stress that I’m pleased to see strengthening their resolve is from our E-ship Quest. I was quite anxious as we began that the heady financial and economic principles that are a part of the quest would just be too much for them. I was pleasantly surprised by how engaged they are by the material, and with how much gusto they tackle the work. I’m crazy excited to see their booths at the Acton Children’s Business Fair on November 9th.
We’ve also been hard at work on Writer’s Workshop where we are writing our memoirs! I’m currently trying to find a medium in which to publish them so they can regale you with their stories. As third and fourth grade brains just begin to move into abstract territory, they are starting to see how a prompt like “Write About a Time When Nothing Happened” is an avenue for them to find that Growth Mindset and look at life in a different way.
In closing, I will leave you with someone much smarter and more articulate than myself to elucidate my ramblings above.