I was working with a relatively new pupil today and something very important emerged from this lesson. She was quite upset at not understanding something – it happened to be something rhythmical. We talked for a bit and this is the gist of what I wanted her to understand:
Being a good learner is knowing that it’s okay not to know. Pupils shouldn’t feel bad about not knowing or understanding things. They should simply acknowledge the fact and tell their teacher, who will then explain – or indeed explain again… and maybe again…and again... (making different connections and in different ways, Simultaneous Learning-wise.)
In school, pupils can be embarrassed if they don’t seem to know what their peers know… and teachers can sometimes get frustrated if pupils don’t know things …and so pupils learn that it’s bad not to know things.
They end up thinking:
If pupils don’t know something – or if they don’t get something – they simply ask and teachers explain – maybe for the second, third or hundredth time. We don’t mind. That’s what we do. And, as Virtuoso Teachers, we also recognise when a pupil isn’t understanding something for a more serious underlying reason, and address this issue. But that’s another conversation for another blog…
We need to teach pupils it’s okay if they don’t know, or if they don’t understand. And we teach them to ask – ALWAYS.
Good learners are not the ones who happen to know things.
Good learners know that not knowing is okay and all they have to do is ask.