The students will make allies and find enemies in the special world, and will need to encounter tests and challenges in stage vi) that will prepare them for the rest of the journey. They will encounter difficult theoretical ideas that they need to process, difficult skills that they need to master, and will need to deal with threshold concepts the understanding of which is crucial for them to progress. The tests they meet along the way will take various forms: they may be the activities devised by the teacher to help break down difficult concepts or demystify skills; they may the problems that the teachers devise which require them to call into question their existing mental models.
Diagnostic questions for stage vi):
- Who are the students’ various allies in this part of the unit? How will they find or encounter them? Will you devise activities in order to facilitate an encounter?
- What are likely to be the students’ enemies and challenges in this part of the unit? What knowledge, tools, skills and strategies will they need in order to overcome these enemies?
- In what way will the students be tested in this part of the unit? How will you know how their learning is progressing? More importantly perhaps, how will the students know how well they are progressing?
- Can you, or do you want to, create one or two “easy wins” in order to build confidence and increase motivation?
- In what ways does this stage in the unit prepare your students for the tests that they will face in stage vii (approach to the inmost cave) and stage viii (the ordeal)?