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I ran a CPD session this week (13th Feb) on how to embed challenge in learning. To start the session I asked all present to share their understanding of this concept. The most common view was challenge comes from increasing the academic level of a task ie teaching a GCSE A grade topic to a C or B grade student. I must admit that in some ways this is true and there was a time when this was my idea of how to best achieve challenge. I have found through experience that this technique does however have its disadvantages. By teaching topics that are beyond some students current academic understanding , you can run the risk of disengagement, demotivation and loss of confidence. My view of making sure there is challenge in my classes has now taken a shift in focus.
My current practice focuses on adding challenge through introducing topics that are matched to a realistic stretch of a students’ ability, therefore maintaining the learners motivation and confidence. The challenge is achieved by guiding learners to discover, apply, create and present their learning in a variety of creative and engaging ways.
“The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don’t tell you what to see” Alexandra K.Trenfor.
Below is a collections of ways I have been creating challenge in my classroom.