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Posts Tagged ‘assume

I look forward to George Couros’ almost daily blogging of his thoughts on all things schooling and education. His work might be what I tweet the most.

But when he suggested that we start with positive assumptions, I had to pause for thought.

I get his intent — give parents, students, and teachers the benefit of the doubt when helping people change. Positive thought leads to positive action.

As ideal and somewhat pragmatic as this mindset might be, I would rather find out what they think and feel first, and start from that point. To do otherwise and assume is to build castles in the air.

I pay heed to this adage: Never assume unless you want to make an ASS of U and ME.


Last week a writer took great pleasure in highlighting how a 6-year-old totally owned the Financial Times over a ‘Minecraft’ error [original article] [copy of child’s letter].

I have played Minecraft with my son and even made a few videos on what we might learn by immersive play. I was sure that the 6-year-old was not entirely right.

You cannot be right all the time and that is a valuable lesson in life. So how does one burst the bubble of a child without also bursting their self-esteem?

You ask another child to correct him.

I asked my 11-year-old for his thoughts as a Minecraft veteran. He gave a blow-by-blow account of how the FT could have got their Minecraft scene right. Much of what was possible could be due to texture packs and building in creative mode.

However, the biggest problem with the Minecraft scene as depicted by FT was that is was most likely a Photoshopped collage of separate Minecraft and other elements.

A writer opted to use an “out of the mouth of babes” moment to highlight the folly of another writer. That was premature.

This is a reminder for both adults and kids: It is better to ask than to assume that someone is right. Furthermore, an adult is not necessarily the best source of information; what a child knows deeply might surprise you.

The tweet I embedded below assumes that we read in a fixed way. This could be with an immobile screen or the need to read from left to right.

When I came across that tweet I was using a mobile device and merely had to tilt the device instead of my head.

If I wanted to I could have also just read it without cocking my head to one side. Growing up left-handed made me assume I had to help myself or just do things differently. My assumption was safer than the tweeter’s one.

This is not an attempt to bash the tweet. It is a warning to modern teachers not to make assumptions about their learners and to create lessons based on those assumptions.

You might prepare something for the desktop environment, but your students are mobile-ready. You might want to deliver something you think your students cannot do, but they might already be past that, know how to go around it, or not need it at all.

The is the biggest assumption and mistake you can make: When you teach, other people react the way you expect and actually learn. They do not.

A good teacher can minimize the assumptions and mistakes. A great one has made them all, learnt from them, and stops assuming.

Video source

Our senses and sensibilities can mislead us.

If we take different perspectives, we might not assume and we might not be misled.

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