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elovejoy's picture

post-discussion comments

After reading the article, Paul, Wil, Brie, and I had a discussion on our initial comments and reactions.  One thing that we discussed that really resonated with me was the idea of what is considered to be "right" and what is considered to be "wrong" when learning.  Throughout my days of learning, I have always been afraid of uncertainty and being wrong.  I think a lot of this stems from my parents emphasis getting good grades in school.  I have always only spoken up if I was very confident that I knew the "right" answer.  And, a lot of my teachers and professors have made students feel that there can only be one correct answer.  This is extremely intimidating for students, and I think it is important for teachers to reflect on the way they respond to  students comments so that they create an environment in which students feel comfortable.  Uncertainty, probability, and being wrong make people nervous.  In our discussion, we thought about the question of when and how did it come about that we expect people to be "right" and to know what will happen next?  I think it is crucial to create experiences for students where they do not feel the pressure to know specific answers.  The idea of education as life itself seems like it fosters an environment in which students are able to be comfortable with this uncertainty.  Being uncertain about things allows for other people to contribute their thoughts on the topic to make you think about things in a different way.  Additionally, being "wrong" or not knowing an appropriate answer allows for further exploration of a topic.  If someone does not understand something, they can use different resources to learn more about it, whether it be through the use of books, the internet, onoline forums, discussion, etc.

We came to an agreement that it is a good idea to tell students that the goal of the class isnt to learn more about a topic, but instead, that the goal is to enhance their skills as inquirers.  Inquirers cannot be "wrong," but instead they seek to learn by asking questions.  The best way to do this is by creating useful experiences for students outside of the classroom.


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