The importance of supporting Productive Struggle.
Early in each school year teachers need to have honest conversations with their students about struggle. We need to help students understand that struggle is a sign of learning and that without it their brain is not really growing and they are not getting any smarter. Give students challenging tasks and then do not rescue them from doing the work/thinking. Instead find ways to support their struggles so they can continue to be productive and learn what it means to persevere.
Be transparent about this process and explain to students why you are responding to their struggles as you are. Being allowed to wrestle with difficult problems is a new experience for many students. Often they get frustrated if you do not help them in ways they are used to. They may complain when you do not take over the thinking or do not grab their pencil and show them how to do it. But trust that if you show students that you believe in their ability to do their own thinking, they will over time also believe in themselves. This requires perseverance from you as well since many students have established patterns and habits from previous years of schooling that will take time to unlearn.
Some strategies that can support productive struggle are the Huddle or Swapmeet which can be used to provide targeted feedback just when students need it most and/or encourage students to access information from team to team in order to continue the work within their own team. Use these strategies early in the year and use them often in order to establish this type of support for students to persevere.