Questioning full transparency

This post is inspired by Sheryl NussbaumBeach’s tweet about dopamine and expectancy.

Picture this:  You are a student, and you walk into your English class.  You glance at the  board and see your teacher has diligently posted the learning goals for the day:

We are learning to write a five part persuasive essay.

You say to yourself, well, I already know how to do that,  and turn yourself off.


Does this happen, I’ve seen it but not with everyone.

Why take the chance? (Especially with zombies)

I have been told that posting learning goals for the day is a good thing, but have always questioned the idea somewhat.  I thoroughly enjoy the eureka moment when a student uses their prior knowledge to wrap their head around a new concept to have a greater understanding.  Much better than the point blank range effect.  I think this also promotes self directed learners and if the new brain research translates into the way I’m interpreting it, a dopamine enriched learning experience.


Sheryl goes on to say “Create opportunities for 50/50 chance of reward.” and ” include failure as a learning construct.”  The idea of failure is hard to take at first until you realize it happens all the time.   The failure to fully understand at first is surmounted later by the dopamine rush when success and understanding is achieved.

I’m not saying we need to fail students, but if they can’t fail, there’s no incentive to succeed.

Apathy = Zombies.

Say no to Zombies.

Seriously, there should be a sequence of safety nets when dealing with possible failure, that’s why we as teachers are there.  The power of mystery coming into a class can be used effectively.

I guess posting learning goals are simply tools in an arsenal.

Tools each have a use, and you don’t always use the same one all the time – they wear out too easily.  Plus you don’t know when you need a pick axe for the next zombie invasion…

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