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Prepare Students for Novel Tasks


^Music, Art and Makerspaces ^21st Century Skills Social-Emotional Learning All Ages Strategy


Flexible Thinking

Prepare Students for Novel Tasks

If your student gets anxious or upset when they don't know what will be expected of them

Teach It!

  1. Objective: Preparing students who have difficulty with flexible thinking or novel situations by explaining in concrete steps what will happen can help them adapt rather than become upset or anxious.
  2. Teacher Takeaways: a) When presenting a new task or instructions, prepare your student by validating that the task is different, but also specifically point out the similarities to past tasks. Draw connections in as much detail as the student needs. b) Read the instructions together or ask the student to re-state the instructions in his own words to ensure understanding. c) Break the instructions into smaller chunks to make the task feel more manageable. d) Have the student check in after completing each chunk of the tasks. This can prevent him having to go back and re-do work and avoid frustration.

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

Students with weaker flexible thinking can feel uncomfortable when they need to adjust to an unfamiliar situation or process. Breaking down new instructions can lessen their apprehension and help them succeed. The more successful experiences they have handling novel tasks, the less stress they will feel when they face future unexpected circumstances or novelty. Keep in mind that students might not have difficulty in every situation. Use the strategies to support your student as necessary but always follow their cues so you are letting the student make adjustments independently when he feels ready.