How Should We Challenge Learners?
I went to Quiapo for my elementary schooling. The school was approximately four kilometers from our house in Sampaloc. My parents gave me enough money to take a jeepney ride to go home, but I decided to walk home from school everyday so that I could save enough to buy me a new pair of pants for Christmas.
|Downloaded from "Buhay Pinoy - Filipino Life in Pictures, Philippines"|
My son had the chance to watch "Baby Einstein" videos when he was a toddler. As parents, we are advised to read to our children often. Poverty denies these opportunities to young children. And, of course, when I was growing up, there were no "Baby Einstein" videos yet. What my parents had at home when I was growing up were not videos or books for young children. Instead, we had a World Atlas:
|A Hammond Map - Downloaded from Old Maps|
The above recount is simply an anecdote. Again, it is important to look at what peer-reviewed research says about the relationship between poverty and learning. A previous post in this blog, "Overcoming the Constraints of Poverty", was really composed of two parts. The first part described interventions that could address conditions caused by poverty that are serving as obstacles to learning. The second part of that post perhaps explains in part what my classmate meant when he said that my growing up being poor contributed to my education. That second part talked about "grit", which Paul Tough, a journalist from the New York Times, describes as "perseverance in pursuit of a passion":
Professor Angela Lee Duckworth in the Department of Psychology in the University of Pennsylvania describes below her research findings on how "grit" correlates with success:
"Overcoming the Constraints of Poverty" had two parts and it is very important not to mixed up the two parts. Another previous post in this blog, "The Wisdom behind Deped's Short School Hours", starts with the following quote:
“Unlike in other countries, many of our Grade 1 students spend hours walking to and from school,” Luistro says. “They are tired when they reach school. I want them to enjoy school, not (to feel) that (it) is imposed on them.”The hardships that harm children's learning correlate with broken homes, extreme poverty, hunger, and unmet basic needs. These are not the challenges that can benefit learning. These need to be alleviated. Children still need to be challenged in school. Learning is hard work. Challenges coupled with a sense of accomplishment at the end of an arduous task develops "grit" in children. We should not allow ourselves to be confused of which challenges should be removed and which challenges should remain in school.