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  • karinhessvt

Complex Tasks Every Student Can Accomplish

[Originally published by MiddleWeb April 2024]

Years ago, I heard Dr. Howard Gardner make a comment that has stayed with me all these years: “Every complex task in life is a project, and we rarely – if ever – do them alone.”

I think the point he was making then, and one that has been supported by cognitive science since that time, is that we can tackle much more complex, performance-based tasks when we work on them with others – especially when we are first learning HOW to do those tasks.

When I was a middle school teacher, I learned that when my students worked on a challenging task together, engagement AND learning increased. When students collaborate, they develop both individual accountability within the group (everyone contributes something) and positive interdependence among group members (we support each other) while working towards a common goal.

The added benefit? Collaborating on complex tasks builds relationships, a positive classroom culture for learning, and a sense of real accomplishment for each individual student. When the team wins, everyone is a winner!

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