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Give "Stretch" Challenges to Ensure Healthy Growth


^21st Century Skills All Ages Strategy


Verbal Reasoning Abstract Reasoning

Give "Stretch" Challenges to Ensure Healthy Growth

If your students will have individualized performance goals

How To Apply It!

  1. Students will understand, remember and be more engaged if they are slightly out of their comfort zone but not too stretched that they feel confused or overwhelmed.
  2. To gauge where students are, have students re-tell or teach a concept in their own words, so you build from what they know.
  3. Use open-ended questioning rather than questions with a single right answer so all students have an opportunity to stretch themselves at their own level.
  4. Give students opportunities to self-assess their understanding. A stretch should be based off of where students are and where they perceive themselves to be (often very different). Students will benefit from developing greater self-awareness of what is and is not a stretch.
  5. When students are getting perfect papers they are not being stretched. All students need opportunities to make mistakes and learn from them. For high-achieving students you might need to balance the harder work with grades.

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

Research on the zone of proximal development shows the importance of having students stretch to learn but not so far as if the learning feels out of reach. This is a delicate and ongoing balance for teachers and parents. Adults will want to use extra-sensitivity with students who are anxious, struggling or could be discouraged and frustrated, realizing that these students need to be stretched as well if they are to overcome their challenges.