Model Productive Struggle


To help students see that it is normal and expected for them to struggle in pursuit of their studies by modeling productive struggle.


With models of productive struggle, students will gain the confidence and skills to struggle through their studies and still learn the skills and content they need to succeed.

Action Steps

  • Plan a lesson where the teacher models their own thinking through an example, demonstrating productive struggle for students.
  • Ask students to listen for specific ideas, thoughts, or connections the teacher reaches for to push through the struggle.
  • Call out the steps and key strategies to assist students as they struggle productively with a question, topic, or assignment.
  • Collect feedback from students that shows they know what productive struggle looks like and how to exhibit it in the face of academic challenges.


Blackburn, Barbara (2018) Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Vol. 14. No. 11 retrieved January 2023 from:

Are these strategies helpful?