Maybe not a yes, but surely not a No.

No. is absolute and casts a judgment. It tells us that we are wrong. If we conform, we will not make that mistake again. It’s hard for me to see how this supports learning. Memorization perhaps, but not the kind of learning that requires thinking. You memorize to follow. Thinking allows us to lead.

Consider this, what if the answer was not a mistaken guess, a silly response, or a misunderstood question? What if this is an authentic response based on the learner’s knowledge and experiences?

I suggest that a teacher who wants to instill thinking skills and respects the learners he or she is responsible for might have extended the No. “Not what I was thinking. Let’s talk.” is just one of many possibilities. What this picture captures is at least 28 characters shy of recognizing this individual learner’s unique perspective and tool set.

I have to thank my colleague Brett Clark for sharing what he faced as a parent this week, and for being open to me editorializing on it. There’s really one question left, what would you have put in place of the No?

4 thoughts on “Maybe not a yes, but surely not a No.

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment. And I like how you’ve opened up the potential for a discussion about reliance on technology. Haven’t we all been somewhere that we were unable to “connect?”

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