Here is an article from ASCD Education Update. The author shares ideas on how best to set up our classrooms in ways that effectively encourage and support our students when asking for help. I particularly found her thoughts on how asking for help is a “social minefield” for our students. Below is a short excerpt from the article.
Resist the urge to rescue. Learn how to provide strategies, not solutions, when students ask for help.
You notice a student stumbling through a problem or concept and your first impulse is to “rescue” him. Maybe it’s because he’s frustrated and on the verge of giving up, says ASCD author Robyn Jackson. But “we also rescue kids because it’s the most expedient way to move on to the next kid. Especially when several students are asking for help.”
In a classroom that emphasizes productive struggle, “the biggest thing teachers can do is resist the urge to rescue students,” says Jackson. “When teachers help too much, they reinforce the idea that it’s about getting it right and not about the struggle of learning.” Eventually, students won’t put forth the effort at all because it’s “not being rewarded or emphasized.”
Setting up an environment where students use help effectively requires some finesse. But research points to a few key moves that can turn help seeking from a perceived deficit into a valuable learning strategy.