Sorry Charlie – Learned Helplessness

 

From Jason Slanga:

Today as part of our professional development, we were presented with the following video:

While watching this I got to think about Sorry Charlie.  When we throw someone a Sorry Charlie, or when we speak to quickly, we’re throwing them an impossible task.  This is the kind of thing that makes people Full, and unable to continue.
The WAYK rules are a way for students to identify impossible tasks, and make the teacher address them.  If they don’t know that Sorry Charlie is an option, they will assume that the fault is theirs, that they are incapable of learning.  We’ve all heard people who say “I tried learning a language in high school/college, but I just wasn’t very good at it.”  Clearly this can’t be true.  I think of all the times I’ve been to Rome, and seen people selling knick-knacks on the street.  These people often speak three or four languages.  They’re not the sort of people we might think of as highly learned (but I might challenge us to question that assumption), and yet they’ve mastered a skill which people in our country, with wealth and educational resources have deemed for themselves impossible.
Teaching kids about Sorry Charlie challenges the notion of the Impossible Task.  It makes them hold us accountable, and over time we can be trained not to inadvertently teach helplessness.
-Jason
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