Now there’s an old cliché. You get the idea – being frozen with indecision. Often the need is to get going and get a move on: get off the sofa, get that job started, or open that book. Writing is like that as long as it’s not something confidential that gets published to all like one of those “Helen, will you marry me” contrails in the sky.
Yes—harm can be done with ill-advised actions, such as the novice going into the guts of a machine without proper knowledge. And since I had my last biology course in the tenth grade, nothing with scalpels is indicated for helping those with internal problems. Once an avenue of pursuit is declared safe, however, go at it without fear.
The fear of being wrong holds people back. As a student, who wants to call out answers to a question if it might be wrong or be swished aside as not quite on target or not even pertinent? After a while, no one will volunteer to risk answering the instructor’s question.
The awkwardness is there for the teacher as well. It’s not easy to ask questions that don’t have an obvious or clear cut answer. How do you connect in an affirming way with students whose replies don’t match up with hoped for insights?
I remind myself, “This student gave something and risked something – sought to connect.” That is very valuable, often as valuable, or more so, than the instructor’s intended answer to the question. Therapists will tell you that it’s scary when a client doesn’t talk at all. Everything is shut up in the client’s mind, and nothing is coming out on a safe landscape for discussion. Talking may not be the answer, but without it, no one will get to the answer.
Class isn’t therapy proper, and there’s no intent here to imply that students need to vent their personal lives or that teachers and other students need to hear them. Every class, though, does have its need for interaction – where even the teacher is seen as a risk taker and one willing to think out loud with others. Conclusions are great, and how we arrive at them is equally great.