To learn, we must first admit that there is something we do not know, something that we still need to learn. As a teacher, this can be a big ego buster. Teachers often have the impression that they must know everything or at least so much more than their students that they are never caught without a ready answer. I openly admit to my students that I am still learning, that in fact, I will learn for the rest of my life. I also tell them that they have such amazing brains and ideas that they sometimes ask questions that I do not yet have the answer to, but I will be more than happy to learn the answer with them! I think a teacher who is willing to respond, "I don't know, but let's learn together," is a teacher who demonstrates what it means to be a life long learner. When teachers have this orientation, students also feel free to admit that they have a lot to learn. Teachers and students dedicate themselves to continually learning. Each day teaching is a new learning adventure and each class creates a new learning community.
How do you feel about telling students you don't know the answer?