I’ve got a couple of students who have declared themselves to be nerds.
They like to work at things until they get them right; they like to explore things a little more than necessary. One of them puts language flourishes into essays when no, they aren’t *necessary.* This is English 101… if it’s correct and organized, you’re fine… but why not have fun with it?
I’m puzzling out how it’s happened. I have a funny feeling that ALEKS helped. Why? Because when you’ve got to “do these probelms from the book,” you get some right, you get some wrong, and you’re done. With ALEKS you have to get X problems right. You pretty much *have* to work at things until you get them right.
I’m also pretty sure that encouraging teachers presenting appropriate challenges and rewarding successes is mandatory. I’m pretty sure these students didn’t arrive with the ‘ownership’ of their learning. (Okay, I *know* it. I was there.) If they hadn’t had that “struggle to the top, then cheer!” experience then they wouldn’t be building it for themselves. The self-talk: “well, I’ll put something together and hopefully they’ll let me pass… I’m not very good…”
It honestly doesn’t *matter* if it’s not an awesome prize-winning entity. Marathons are worth finishing at your pace, in your style; learning writing and math are much the same. (Can we say “growth mindset”?)
I love average nerds 🙂