Over the past few years I have noticed that my pupils are becoming less confident when faced with challenging problems. If they read a problem and don’t know how they are going to work out the final answer they have a tendency to give up and not even try it.
Part of the problem is that the pupils are scared of making a mistake. How do I get my pupils to make an attempt at a problem even if they don’t know where they will end up?
I wonder if part of the problem is the type of question that they commonly face. Below is a question from one of our textbooks for S2 pupils.
This is a very structured question. It takes the pupil through the problem step by step. Holding their hand at every step.
Would this be a better problem?
Or – would it be even better as this?Am I doing my pupils a disservice by giving them too many parts to a question? I think that it would be beneficial for my pupils if I gave them less structured questions even if it means they struggle initially. Yes the problem would take more time but in the long run it will surely help.