The Virtue of Not Knowing: Sunday Full of Grace

A little research into the idea of “not knowing” and the “virtue” or ignorance within that statement seems to be a sticky point, depending on whether you research via religious doctrine or educational pedagogy.

For me, it is about learning. I don’t assert the idea of never knowing, just not knowing everything right now. It’s okay to be in discomfort while we learn. It’s part of effective learning.

This article looks brilliant and I want to read it. I wish I had University credentials. I can’t see full versions of peer edited articles and papers. The authors, Andrea English and Barbara Stengel, assert that being uncomfortable and that “doubt, discomfort and difficulty [can be] pedagogically useful.”

How do we help our students feel safe not knowing, and feeling safe enough to risk? How do we make spaces of learning and deep rigor and also not trigger our most sensitive, high ACES students that are living in survival mode due to traumas? I’m very much dedicated to making this my practice, and to figure out the balance between safety and educational discomfort. I believe the responsibility is on me as a teacher to create a safe classroom environment that allows for creative thinking and problem solving and that mistakes are celebrated as learning opportunities.

I do the same thing in my life. Mistakes are learning opportunities. Perhaps children can understand this from analogies in sports or creative endeavors, drawing comparisons to their real life. “The first time you beheld a soccer ball you didn’t know what to do with it, but now you can score a goal with a team.”

I’m waxing philosophically today, thinking about my first real day of work tomorrow for BPS. I’m excited and ready to go. I meet my students on Wednesday and school starts Thursday. My students and I will create our community of learning, and I can’t wait to see how much they teach me about life.

Here’s a shout out to one of my favorites, John Dewey.

Click to access EJ1158258.pdf

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