The Secret to Student Success? Teach Them How to Learn. — from by Patrice Bain


Abby’s story is hardly unique. I often teach students who react with surprise when they do well in my class. “But I’ve never done well in history,” they say. This is almost always followed by a common, heartbreaking confession. “I’m not smart.” Every time I hear this, I am faced with the gut-wrenching realization that the student has internalized failure by age eleven. Yet every year I see these same students soar and complete the class with high grades.

This raises two questions for me: How can we turn eleven-year-olds who have internalized failure into students like Abby who retain information for years? And how can we teach that poor grades don’t indicate failure, but rather that we haven’t found the correct learning strategy?

Enter research.