What is a ‘silent struggle’?
As a whole school, we are aware of the need to give our students the best opportunities to be independent and resilient. Independence will give students the ability to revise successfully and to become inquisitive learners which, in turn, will support them with the new GCSE system which relies so strongly on exams. This means we need to give students opportunities to work on their own, without their teacher intervening or giving extra support. This approach is important because in an exam environment they will need to find strategies where they can be self-reliant.
The staff at St Wilfrid’s therefore also believe that resilience is crucial to students succeeding in their exams and beyond. Resilience to cope with such pressured situations where students have to cope on their own is a crucial life skill and we are keen to ensure that students are prepared for the world beyond St Wilfrid’s. This is why we are promoting a ‘silent struggle’ strategy for teachers to use in their lessons. When a teacher gives students time to approach a task on their own, without support from their peers or teacher, they may ‘struggle’. However, we believe that it is important to allow students to find their own strategies to solve those problems, or to show perseverance. The teacher will have planned and prepared the class for the ‘silent struggle’ carefully to make sure that we have given them ideas or tools for how to cope when they are struggling, but the teacher will also insist that the task is completed in silence so that students are not tempted to look to someone else for help. In this way, the ‘silent struggle’ will give students a safe space to try their best and to learn to cope with failure when they are finding something difficult.