Reflection: Perseverance Does McDonalds Have a Farm? (2 of 2) - Section 2: EXPLAIN: Ag symposium


The success of this "flash publication" approach to presentation requires cultivation over time.  There is no single teacher move that can be made during this single lesson to ensure success.  Rather, it is the series of carefully executed teaching moves--helping students choose a topic, helping students to articulate the importance of a topic, helping students to develop focus questions, helping students to develop visual aids--that promotes success.  Students will only be able to engage with flash publications when they have mastered the skills needed and have had practice over time.  The goal of this work is for students to quickly understand and teach content to each other.  Without adequate preparation, students will feel stress and this will not lead to success.  In fact, without an adequate skills and concept foundation, stress will actually physiologically overwhelm students and cause their cognitive functions to decline.  

Rather, the goal for this kind of activity is to create an environment of eustress.  Eustress is basically a type of low-level stress that spurs growth and mastery.  Euestress is stress, but it is grounded in trust that success is possible. In order for students to persevere with complex tasks--and the types of authentic problem-based learning activities that students engage with in the curriculum are complex--they require an environment that is more eustress than stress.  Students need to be in the stress sweet spot.  And teachers must vigilantly monitor students' displays of stress.  

In fact, as the attached resources argue, a teacher's ability to identify and regulate students' stress is an essential pedagogical skill.  Especially when teaching a course that pushes students to learn in problem-based environment, managing students' stress will be the difference that makes for successful learning experiences.  It is not simply the content or the activities that matter.  Students' feelings while learning directly impact their ability to learn.

  Perseverance: Stress or eustress
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Does McDonalds Have a Farm? (2 of 2)

Unit 5: Food (biosphere and geosphere)
Lesson 12 of 24

Objective: Students will be able to 1) publicly communicate key ideas of industrial agriculture's impact on the health of the environment; 2) demonstrate proficient understanding of concepts related to industrial agricultural and environmental health through a problem set style assessment

Big Idea: Much of what we eat comes from a “food industrial complex.” How might we define the costs and benefits of this system through comparison of agricultural techniques?

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