Here’s one of the statements that really frustrates me as a teacher…
“Miss, I’m stuck”.
My auto-pilot response is “in what way?” or “with what?”.
Now, the worst answer to THAT is – yep, you guessed it:
Where do you start with that?
And more importantly, it’s NEVER actually the case.
So what’s really going on behind the belief or declaration of being stuck?
Watch this week’s video OR scroll down for the written version to find out 🙂
It could be one of 4 things:
- Is they haven’t read all of the information carefully. Now, this isn’t necessarily a criticism (sometimes it is if they are just being lazy) but sometimes, it’s more that they haven’t processed that information. Very often, once I have a student just re-read the introductory info or the question to me, they suddenly get it. They process something or notice something they hadn’t before and it all slots into place. Other times, there might be sources or resources they need to be using, and they haven’t done that, for example, using a graph or an extract or a diagram to help them answer a question.
- A second potential hidden situation is that they aren’t savvy in breaking down questions and identifying key words and command words. If that’s the case then they are likely struggling to figure out EXACTLY what they need to do and indeed that CAN be tricky to decipher in some questions, essay titles or assignment instructions. This is why students absolutely need to master their knowledge of command words and Bloom’s Taxonomy.
- Which leads me nicely to the third possible problem lurking here: It could be that they know WHAT they need to do, they just aren’t sure HOW to do it. For example, how to ANALYSE rather than simply describe or explain. Or how to EVALUATE effectively and concisely. Or they don’t have a template to cover all the bases in responding to a COMPARE and CONTRAST question. This comes down to their exam technique (even if they aren’t actually in an exam situation) as well as having a stack of go-to systems and templates so that they can smoothly and confidently answer any question and command they’re faced with.
- Lastly, they might actually know all these things really, but they are perhaps just lacking the confidence to go ahead and execute on them. They don’t trust their own judgement and feel like they need approval or have someone confirm things for them. This is unfortunately the least common situation I find with students, it’s more often situations 1, 2 or 3, but it most often occurs when students have been used to having scaffolds, structures and high levels of input and need to build their skills in independently putting things into practice.
So, if ever your teen is stuck on a homework task or assignment, then consider these 4 potential reasons behind that “I’m stuck” statement, or “I’m not sure what to do” to help them then get on a path to getting clear and confident.
If you think this could help someone else you know, please share or like this post 🙂
Oh, and leave me a comment or drop me an email to let me know which of these situations is the case for your teen 🙂