The Power of “I Don’t Know”

Courtesy of Child Care Exchange

“No longer are we carriers of knowledge, giving it to students and assessing whether they can repeat facts successfully.  We are, instead, tasked with teaching students how to find answers themselves.”  This observation was made by Heather Wolpert-Gawron in her Edutopia article, “The Power of ‘I Don’t Know‘”.  She continues…

“At the start of each year, I have to train students that I will not be feeding them answers.  I will not be having them copy notes from the board.  I will not hand out copies of words and definitions for them to study.  I will not hand them fill-in-the-blank paragraphs that we will all fill in together.

“Rather, I will teach them how to develop questions.  And when they ask me for answers, I will happily and without embarrassment, reply with, ‘I don’t know.’ & nbsp;I will also teach them that when I ask them a question it’s OK if they say, ‘I don’t know.’  I won’t make them feel bad for not knowing the answer.  Instead, I will spend vital time teaching them that when ‘I don’t know’ pops into one’s head, it is the trigger to find out.  For me, the guide in the room, that means making sure that my own attitude does not reflect our society’s assumption that ‘I don’t know’ is a weakness.”

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