The Beauty of Not Knowing

Hello Friends,

Sage upon the stage. Teacher. Educator. As I stand in front of the class, demanding that all eyes rest on me, that all mouths remain closed, that all hands are at rest, that all ears and minds are open to my words; I discount the importance of being human. Of being frail. Of not knowing. We are taught to be authorities in our subject. We are supposed to be the one person in the room with all the answers.

In actuality,  a truly masterful teacher recognizes that they know very little actually. A great teacher models for her students all the time the great liberation of, not knowing. Not knowing is really what learning is all about. We learn to accept we do not have all the answers. We learn to question not just others, but ourselves. I teach language arts. I have a degree in English. I have read thousands and thousands of books. But guess what, I use my dictionary in class all the time. I make spelling mistakes, intentionally. I ask students for the right way to phrase a sentence. I model for them the freedom that can come with not knowing the answer. I model that not knowing something is okay. That asking for help is okay. That figuring something out with others is okay.

There are many ways to help your students learn to be okay about not knowing something. Using growth mindset language and perspective can be helpful. As can screwing up in front of them. What methods have you used to help your students build the capacity to comfortably, not know something?

Be Brave,

Sara

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