Don't Be So Sure

By Melinda Glenister

One of the most powerful ways to open yourself to be able to learn, is to be able to say, ‘I don’t know’.

In a learning situation- you don’t have to know the answer, not as a student, nor as a teacher or a parent.  It’s important to realise that once you have the answer- the learning stops.  Once you have achieved it, there’s nowhere to go.  Take time to be in the in-between place.  Sit on the fence a bit longer.  In that space of exploration is the most fertile ground.

Encourage kids to be curious to discover for themselves.  It is the learning that comes closest to the natural learning of a baby discovering their world.  Steer kids away from prescriptive thinking by not telling them what to do or how to do it.  Set up simple situations they can experiment without fear of making a mistake.

When they stop looking to you for answers they will start to look to themselves, feeling which way works better, which way feels right for them.  There’s no substitute for this kind of learning.  It’s the way to breed confident kids, who trust themselves and dare to take a risk, who want to take responsibility for themselves, who learn to live for themselves and not for a parent or teacher, and who take satisfaction from their development without being afraid to make mistakes.

If the teacher or parent is able to say ‘I don’t know’, it allows for openness, space for learning to work both ways (the teacher also learns) and a sense of working together.  The child will soon learn it’s ok to not know, it’s ok to make mistakes, and will learn to love the learning process.  Remember they are kids, not professionals.  But actually the best professionals maintain this curiosity and willingness to learn even if they are number one.  They never want to stop learning.  For the ones who think they know… there is only one way to go.