What Is Invisible Progress and Why Should Teachers Care

Sometimes, students misbehave even when they know they shouldn’t. However, we need to understand that there may be a deeper reason behind their behavior, and they may be working hard to overcome those struggles. As such, we must recognize the progress they make towards overcoming these struggles, no matter how small it may seem.

This is what we at ClasStars have termed “invisible progress.” As teachers, we must recognize the importance of invisible progress and support our students in achieving their goals. But what is invisible progress, and how can we as educators identify it in our students and support it?

What Is Invisible Progress?

As educators, it’s essential to recognize that every child is unique and may be struggling with different challenges that are impacting their school life. However, what often goes unnoticed is the process by which students make progress to overcome these struggles, which we call “invisible progress.”

Invisible progress is gradual and may take time to become visible. For instance, a child who previously caused trouble ten times a day may resolve to stop misbehaving and work really hard, but only reduce their misbehavior to nine times a day, then eight times… and so on until they stop misbehaving regularly. But when kids are still causing trouble seven times a day, it’s hard to spot this development and effort from the students.

Let’s take another example where a student is sent to the principal’s office every day, or even twice a day. Through effort and progress, if the same student is sent to the principal’s office three times a week, that may still be a struggling student – but regardless, that’s progress. Eventually, this effort could lead to the same student going to the principal’s office once a month, once a semester, and then soon, not at all.

This kind of progress is tremendous for children; they managed to encourage themselves to persevere until they fixed their struggles. It’s especially commendable when, at times, this progress is invisible to the children – they don’t realize how much progress they’ve made. This may happen if they resolve to never get sent to the principal’s office ever again, so if they’re sent even once – despite their invisible progress from every day to once a week – it’s devastating and feels like failure to them.

Despite these drawbacks, children who successfully made invisible progress did so without any motivation or support from teachers or parents. Of course, this is because no one notices the effort. No one sees the progress that this student has been going through for months. It’s invisible progress.

Invisible progress usually goes unnoticed by the teacher or the parents, especially if they are only focused on the negative behavior – that is, the fact that the student is still being sent to the principal’s office more often than not, or the fact that the student is still misbehaving multiple times a day. But imagine if teachers would be able to see and support invisible progress and actively encourage it. That’s when we start to see real change in the classroom.

What Should Teachers Do About Invisible Progress?

Therefore, it’s our job as educators to uncover the invisible progress our students make.

One way to do this is to break behavioral progress down into smaller steps that are more visible. In this format, teachers are able to spot invisible progress more easily, because essentially, they’ve made the small steps of progress visible.

Bonus: This also helps motivate students to take small steps to change their behavior, especially if they’ve been struggling to do so.

Another way is to track our students’ behavioral engagements throughout the day in a methodical, thorough, and easy format. With this type of data, teachers can easily identify progress – and other behavioral patterns – for each student. In the hectic classroom, this is obviously easier said than done. However, tools (like ClasStars!) can help by making this process simple and fast, and automatically organizing the data into actionable insights.

Once invisible progress has been identified and uncovered in a student, teachers need to provide support and encouragement to help them continue to make progress. By recognizing the effort and hard work they’ve put in so far to overcome their struggles, we can give our students the confidence and motivation to continue working towards their goals.

Children who are struggling may feel discouraged and isolated – especially if it’s a personal resolve that no one knows about – and it’s our job as educators to provide a supportive and positive environment. By acknowledging and celebrating their progress, we can help our students build confidence and feel proud of their achievements.

To do so, it’s important to provide positive feedback – not only by earning it through hard work, but also as a basic foundation of a supportive environment every single day. Of course, it stands that encouragement and acknowledgement with each small progress will motivate students to keep putting in effort to behave better. But let’s not forget that each child deserves to be seen and encouraged every single day; that continues to be the foundation behind effective behavioral change.

In conclusion, invisible progress is the progress that children make towards overcoming their struggles and becoming a better student in the classroom, which may go unnoticed by teachers and parents because the change is too gradual. As educators, we must recognize the importance of this progress and provide the necessary support and encouragement to help our students achieve their goals.

Bonus: This also helps motivate students to take small steps to change their behavior, especially if they’ve been struggling to do so.

Another way is to track our students’ behavioral engagements throughout the day in a methodical, thorough, and easy format. With this type of data, teachers can easily identify progress – and other behavioral patterns – for each student. In the hectic classroom, this is obviously easier said than done. However, tools (like ClasStars!) can help by making this process simple and fast, and automatically organizing the data into actionable insights.

Sometimes, students misbehave even when they know they shouldn’t. However, we need to understand that there may be a deeper reason behind their behavior, and they may be working hard to overcome those struggles. As such, we must recognize the progress they make towards overcoming these struggles, no matter how small it may seem.

This is what we at ClasStars have termed “invisible progress.” As teachers, we must recognize the importance of invisible progress and support our students in achieving their goals. But what is invisible progress, and how can we as educators identify it in our students and support it?

What Is Invisible Progress?

As educators, it’s essential to recognize that every child is unique and may be struggling with different challenges that are impacting their school life. However, what often goes unnoticed is the process by which students make progress to overcome these struggles, which we call “invisible progress.” 

Invisible progress is gradual and may take time to become visible. For instance, a child who previously caused trouble ten times a day may resolve to stop misbehaving and work really hard, but only reduce their misbehavior to nine times a day, then eight times… and so on until they stop misbehaving regularly. But when kids are still causing trouble seven times a day, it’s hard to spot this development and effort from the students.

Let’s take another example where a student is sent to the principal’s office every day, or even twice a day. Through effort and progress, if the same student is sent to the principal’s office three times a week, that may still be a struggling student – but regardless, that’s progress. Eventually, this effort could lead to the same student going to the principal’s office once a month, once a semester, and then soon, not at all.

This kind of progress is tremendous for children; they managed to encourage themselves to persevere until they fixed their struggles. It’s especially commendable when, at times, this progress is invisible to the children – they don’t realize how much progress they’ve made.  This may happen if they resolve to never get sent to the principal’s office ever again, so if they’re sent even once – despite their invisible progress from every day to once a week – it’s devastating and feels like failure to them.

Despite these drawbacks, children who successfully made invisible progress did so without any motivation or support from teachers or parents. Of course, this is because no one notices the effort. No one sees the progress that this student has been going through for months. It’s invisible progress.

Invisible progress usually goes unnoticed by the teacher or the parents, especially if they are only focused on the negative behavior – that is, the fact that the student is still being sent to the principal’s office more often than not, or the fact that the student is still misbehaving multiple times a day. But imagine if teachers would be able to see and support invisible progress and actively encourage it. That’s when we start to see real change in the classroom.

What Should Teachers Do About Invisible Progress?

Therefore, it’s our job as educators to uncover the invisible progress our students make. 

One way to do this is to break behavioral progress down into smaller steps that are more visible. In this format, teachers are able to spot invisible progress more easily, because essentially, they’ve made the small steps of progress visible. 

Bonus: This also helps motivate students to take small steps to change their behavior, especially if they’ve been struggling to do so.

Another way is to track our students’ behavioral engagements throughout the day in a methodical, thorough, and easy format. With this type of data, teachers can easily identify progress – and other behavioral patterns – for each student. In the hectic classroom, this is obviously easier said than done. However, tools (like ClasStars!) can help by making this process simple and fast, and automatically organizing the data into actionable insights.

Once invisible progress has been identified and uncovered in a student, teachers need to provide support and encouragement to help them continue to make progress. By recognizing the effort and hard work they’ve put in so far to overcome their struggles, we can give our students the confidence and motivation to continue working towards their goals.

Children who are struggling may feel discouraged and isolated – especially if it’s a personal resolve that no one knows about – and it’s our job as educators to provide a supportive and positive environment. By acknowledging and celebrating their progress, we can help our students build confidence and feel proud of their achievements.

To do so, it’s important to provide positive feedback – not only by earning it through hard work, but also as a basic foundation of a supportive environment every single day. Of course, it stands that encouragement and acknowledgement with each small progress will motivate students to keep putting in effort to behave better. But let’s not forget that each child deserves to be seen and encouraged every single day; that continues to be the foundation behind effective behavioral change.

In conclusion, invisible progress is the progress that children make towards overcoming their struggles and becoming a better student in the classroom, which may go unnoticed by teachers and parents because the change is too gradual. As educators, we must recognize the importance of this progress and provide the necessary support and encouragement to help our students achieve their goals.

Learn more about how ClasStars can help.

Bonus: This also helps motivate students to take small steps to change their behavior, especially if they’ve been struggling to do so.

Another way is to track our students’ behavioral engagements throughout the day in a methodical, thorough, and easy format. With this type of data, teachers can easily identify progress – and other behavioral patterns – for each student. In the hectic classroom, this is obviously easier said than done. However, tools (like ClasStars!) can help by making this process simple and fast, and automatically organizing the data into actionable insights.