Impatient Education

We put so much emphasis on having answers readily available. When there’s a question we don’t have an answer to, often times the first instinct is to reach for the Google machines in our pockets if the answer doesn’t come to us within the first 30 seconds. This is how we were trained. In school, we are praised (directly or indirectly) for being the first student to raise our hand to scream out an answer. If we get called on to provide an answer and can’t provide one in 10 seconds or less, we are punished with a being shunned (teacher just moves on without being intentionally negative) or worse a disproving look or snarky comment. Our culture rewards outcomes and not processes. We are obsessed with facts and rote memory, leaving little room (and little patience) for recognizing the value of thinking things through.

So many people are convinced they are dumb early on in life simply because they aren’t as quick (or perhaps not as eager) to shout out answers. And that becomes reinforced as they go through life built by a society that rewards quick answers.

What if instead of jumping around from student to student fishing for the right answer, what if we paused for an uncomfortable amount of time and let students mull it over. What if instead of telling kids they are wrong or jumping to praise when they are correct, we said,”Can you talk us through that?” or “Let’s break this down.” I think kids would be a little less scared of learning.

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