Day 9: It's OK to be Wrong, but It's Better to be Confused

We had great discussions today about different situations where objects are accelerating. They were deep and interesting and in each class, students brought up some great ideas.

I took no pictures, though. I feel like a #teach180 rookie.

So, instead, I'm going to focus on how hard it is to be wrong. Students don't want to put up wrong answers. I had a student today who told me he was worried that other students would judge him for not understanding the material. I talk about how important it is to discuss different ideas. I train students to ask questions rather than just point out flaws.

But I feel like I'm still caught up in the right/wrong paradigm. I don't think I'm pushing the conversation from answer-finding (which is all about right and wrong) to meaning-making (which is all about clarity/connections and confusion/disconnections). I need to work on communicating that to students. Instead of, "what do you like or not like about these boards?" (which is my go-to question about whiteboards and is way too vague), I'm going to try other approaches. My ideas so far:

  • What connections between the ideas on the board to you see? (Like, how do the position-time and the velocity-time graphs relate?)
  • What connections do you see between this problem and the problem where...?
  • What makes the most sense to you on this board?
  • What did you learn by doing this question? (Or what did you learn from the discussion of this question?)

I'm still thinking about this.