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Teaching students perseverance

Researchers studied third grade students in Singapore who tested well after being taught a new way of learning math.

The students in the study were given math problems way beyond their level, but they kept trying to find the answer for an hour until teachers forced them to stop.

It was not the same case for students in the United States, according to Todd Brown the Elementary Curriculum Coordinator for District 91.

“They came back to the United States, set up the exact same experiment with third graders here.,” Brown said. “It took an average of thirty-four seconds before U.S. students started saying, ‘I can’t do this! I don’t know how to do this! I give up.’ “

The idea of not giving up is a main focus of Wendi Straub’s science classes at Idaho Falls High School.

“Coming to our science class, we’re all about perseverance,” Straub said. “Science is all about perseverance. You have to try, fail, re-evaluate, tinker, try again.”

It’s the same with Mary Towler’s math class at Compass Academy.Students in Towler’s class are given problems to discuss in small groups.

According to Towler,sometimes they come up with the right answer right away, and if they don’t, then they keep trying.

“Well, that’s what the hope is; that they won’t give up, that they will keep trying something different, or getting an idea from somebody else, and saying ‘oh yeah I can see why that might work better,’ ” Towler said.

“I have to persevere a lot and even if I don’t get it right the first time because I know that I will always be able to do it again and have a second chance,” Annalisa Reed, a student at Compass Academy said.

Mandy Drysdale, a teacher from Eagle rock Middle school said that perseverance is needed but that confidence as well plays a huge part in the children’s education as well.

“One of the biggest differences I see is confidence, just total lack of confidence and you put a problem down in front of them, and if they think that they cannot do that they want to quit right away and just walk away,” Drysdale said.

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