"The beginning is hard," he went on. "By the end of the day, they are restless. Part of it is endurance, part of it is motivation.
Part of it is incentives and rewards and fun stuff. Part of it is good old-fashioned discipline. You throw all of that into the stew.
We talk a lot here about grit and self-control. The kids know what the words mean."
Levin walked down the hall to an eighth-grade math class and stood quietly in the back.
A student named Aaron was at the front of the class, working his way through a problem from the page of thinking-skills exercises that all KIPP students are required to do each morning.
The teacher, a ponytailed man in his thirties named Frank Corcoran, sat in a chair to the side, only occasionally jumping in to guide the discussion.
It was the kind of scene repeated everyday in American classrooms, with one difference.
Aaron was up at the front, working on that single problem for twenty minutes, methodically, carefully,
With a participation of the class, working his way through not just the answer, but also the question of whether there was more than one way to get the answer.
It was Renee painstakingly figuring out concept undefined slope all over again.
"What that extra time does is allow for a more relaxed atmosphere, " Corcoran said, after the class was over.
"I find that the problem with math education is the sink-or-swim approach. Everything is rapid fire, and the kids who get it first are the ones who are rewarded.
So there comes to be a feeling that there are people who can do math and there are people who aren't math people.
I think that extended amount of time gives you the chance as a teacher to explain things, and more time for the kids to sit and digest everything that's going on—to review, to do things at a much slower pace。
It seems counterintuitive that we do things at a slower pace and as a result we get through a lot more.
There's a lot more retention, better understanding of the material. It lets me be a bit more relaxed. We have time to have games.
Kids can ask questions they want, and if I'm explaining something, I don't pressed for time. I can go back over material and not feel time pressure."