Students Moving Out of Their Comfort Zones: Primary and Secondary Stability
Primary stability, meaning when a kayak sits flat on the water’s surface, is used as a metaphor to describe students determined to stay in their comfort zone. Two students in Math for a Cause stayed in their primary stability as a form of resistance, and rather than engage in the inquiry required of the course, merely wanted to reinforce their preexisting beliefs. Subsequently, they had little learning gains and their ideas about literacy, math, and social justice remained unchanged. In contrast, secondary stability, meaning when a kayaker leans so the boat tips on the edge, relates to students who go outside of their comfort zone and stretch their learning. Students who stayed in secondary stability longer gained insights into social justice and their own learning.
- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. (2012). Chapter 10: Priority populations. In National Healthcare Disparities Report 2011. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Publication No. 12-0006. Accessed at https://www.ahrq.gov/sites/default/files/wysiwyg/research/findings/nhqrdr/nhdr11/nhdr11.pdf.
- Britzman, D. (2012). Queer pedagogy and its strange techniques. In E. Meiners & T. Quinn (Eds.), Sexualities in education: A reader (pp. 292–308). New York, NY: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
- Hytten, K. (2008). Critical thinking, social justice and the role of philosophy. In J. Diem & R. Helfenbein (Eds.), Unsettling beliefs: Teaching social theory to teachers (pp. 185–200). Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.Google Scholar
- Jackson, A. Y., & Mazzei, L. A. (2012). Thinking with theory in qualitative research. Abingdon: Taylor & Francis. Google Scholar
- Thein, A. H., & Kedley, K. E. (2015). Out of the closet and all grown up: Problematizing normative narratives of coming-out and coming-of-age in young adult literature. In D. Linville & D. L. Carlson (Eds.), Beyond borders: Queer eros and ethos (ethics) in LGBTQ young adult literature (pp. 3–20). New York, NY: Peter Lang.Google Scholar