A PRODUCTIVE STRUGGLE IS WORTH ITS COST

struggling-ducklings1By Lisa Huddleston

I know. I’ve whined a little about taking two classes this semester in order to renew my teaching license. Sorry–but it has been quite a bit of work and everything hasn’t exactly gone smoothly and I really won’t need much of what I have been working to learn. Would you like a little cheese with that? Okay.

That being said (and still being absolutely true), learning is always a worthwhile pursuit. Even when I doubt I will be doing an Informal Reading Inventory or writing a unit plan any time soon, my classes have provoked me to wrangle with some interesting concepts and to synthesize the parts of what I have been reading and researching into new learnings that I can take away from my trials and travails.

Did you know there is even a term for this learning process? Neither did I until I heard it in one of my classes last week. It’s called “Productive Struggle.” Isn’t that awesome?  I can take that phrase and apply it to every area of my life. In fact, it’s almost worth the price of admission for the whole semester. Almost.

“Productive Struggle” is the fight to comprehend, to make sense, and to fit knowledge into the mental constructs we hold. When a struggle is productive, it is worth it. We remember the learning it uncovers. We appreciate the understanding it reveals. We value what our struggle has produced.

Everything of value costs somebody something. And the same is true of learning. Even when the immediate rewards may not be evident, the truly productive struggle is worth every step–or stumble–along the way.

What is your struggle producing in your life today? 

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