Students Moving Out of Their Comfort Zones: Primary and Secondary Stability

  • Summer Melody PennellEmail author
Part of the Queer Studies and Education book series (QSTED)


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.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Truman State UniversityKirksvilleUSA

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