We as teachers are so used to making each instructional minute count that we seldom provide slack time. We define slack as space in the curriculum in which students need to go through the process of determining their next logical steps. The process requires patience on the part of teachers and the qualities of curiosity and responsibility on the part of students. Teacher patience, because slack can look like wasted time (we do not think it is!) and curiosity and responsibility, because learning is ultimately up to the student. We often, traditionally, speed things up by reducing variables, declaring exactly what step comes next, cleaning the learning path up, and holding students’ hands. But we should perhaps let them struggle through the process a whole lot more.
Frequent, even daily, mini-reflections lead to adaptable students and curriculums. Ideally, guide the students to where they are comfortable to self-reflect with you. This of course means guiding the kids to where they have the confidence and insight to self-reflect and self-correct instead of relying (or even fearing) external assessment and correction.
EDgilty suggests that we strive to favor adaptability over rigidity. When we work in a series of small incremental changes, each increment of work will inform the next, with plenty of space for feedback, which should naturally lead to regular, small, manageable adaptations in our plan based on our growing knowledge. Through a metaphor of estimating the time to reach a destination, we get a feel for why adaptability is an outcome of working incrementally, and both an outcome and reinforcer of regular feedback.