As a practicing educator for the past 20+ years, I still, on occasion, get accused of having brain damage. While this may contain some truth, one thing I have most-certainly learned as a result of spending practically my entire life in school is... "I don't know" is not only a great answer, from a teacher's perspective, it just might be, at times, the best answer.
- If you ask a thoughtful and challenging question - the answer that you should anticipate would be, "I don't know". (Be prepared with a follow up challenge.)
- When leading students into inquiry-based research, the best student response that you could hope for would be, "I don't know". (Go find a solution.)
- A lab experiment becomes a mysterious puzzle when it begins with "I don't know". (Prediction, analysis, and reflection)
- A class discussion or debate can remain student-centered when the teacher says, "I don't know". ("You guys will have to figure this out.")
- Students can assist in finding solutions, and take on more responsibility for learning when the teacher says, "I don't know". ("Your expertise can help guide this research.")
- Teachers are not perfect, they can appear more human to students when they say, "I don't know". (Perfection is not reality. It's OK to acknowledge, and work through, shortcomings.)
- Students and teachers can turn to their personal learning networks when they find themselves saying, "I don't know". ("Our networks are loaded with experts. Collectively, we can find solutions to complex problems.")
Maybe my brother and I weren't brain damaged after all. Maybe we were just too advanced for our own good. "I don't know"
The Power of "I Don't Know" - NY Times
Start With Why; The Power of Student-Led Learning - Shelly Wright