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Dec 27, 2022Liked by Dan Meyer

Dan, your take on "conceptions" reminds me of a Mobius strip. Naively, a Mobius strip seems like it has 2 sides. Only careful examination proves it's a single, continuous side. I think you do something similar with correctness & incorrectness. Most folks see them as opposites, but you exhort us to have faith in student thinking and walk *with* students along the "incorrect" side of the loop, building their confidence that it's all the same loop.

I appreciate your point that professional development is personal development, because the ability to do this does pay personal dividends. I'm commenting because I want to share another way to walk the Mobius with your students. I think it better reflects what I do. Instead of transcending the CORRECT/INCORRECT dichotomy, my version of walking the Mobius with students is to transcend the NOW/LATER dichotomy.

A student may feel, "I'm stuck now" but I've got enough experience to project to them that they won't be stuck in 5 minutes. And somehow, there's a way to collapse that now/later distinction in a way that projects to the learner that they already do get it, they just don't realize yet that they already get it. And to back that up by efficiently selecting problems/examples for them to try.

Anyways, when you're caring for someone you have love for, you do transcend time. I don't just love my wife now. I also love who she was as a little girl (before we met) and I love the little old lady she'll be someday. They all feel present now, in a way. I thought you'd like this reflection, both in the spirit of "PD is PD" and as a version of "acting yourself into belief", which was a theme of your writing a long time ago and which I think relates to this sense of living on a Mobius strip.

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(Cross-posted from twitter)

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author

Gotcha - yeah. The feedback in that image isn't anything anyone outside this newsletter sees FWIW.

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Thanks for the reminder; I need constantly prodded to remember that students don't have deficits. As for the extension to life in general: mic drop.

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Thanks for the reminder; I need constantly prodded to remember that students don't have deficits. As for the extension to life in general: mic drop.

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I appreciate how this post calls for something that doesn't take up a lot of classroom time. The first teaching book I ever read was Fred Jones (Tools for Teaching), and his take was that feedback should identify the main thing the student did right, and then say, "The next thing to do is..." Without dwelling on what they did wrong. I find it interesting to consider how that technique is similar to & different from what you're talking about here. You and Fred Jones are polar opposites in classroom style, but you have some commonalities here.

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Is part of the issue the big red X? Does the human or computer determination of "wrong" interrupt the educators' thinking. Does marking it incorrect make it immediately something to correct, not something to seek to understand?

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Things are often necessarily incorrect. I am wondering if we can somehow change what it means to be incorrect. Can things be incorrect, or require further study, without triggering big-red-x feelings or reactions. Instead of stopping; how can we inspire students to see an incorrect solution as a challenge to continue puzzling. Seems as though a step towards this type of reasoning would be conceptual understanding as the basis for evaluating the correctness of solutions for themselves.

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