A.J. Juliani recently published an article about putting “I don’t know” back in the classroom. He says “When our students or peers don’t know something, they are going to either find out by skimming something online, or talking to a real person that actually has the knowledge. My questions is this: Why do we make it so hard on students and peers to say “I don’t know?” (source).
The problem with this approach is that skimming articles online leads to a fake sense of knowledge. Karl Taro Greenfeld, in his article about faking cultural literacy, states that “it’s never been so easy to pretend to know so much without actually knowing anything. We pick topical, relevant bits from Facebook, Twitter or emailed news alerts, and then regurgitate them. Instead of watching “Mad Men” or the Super Bowl or the Oscars or a presidential debate, you can simply scroll through someone else’s live-tweeting of it, or read the recaps the next day. Our cultural canon is becoming determined by whatever gets the most clicks” (source). The fact that our information is mainly coming from what everyone else is reading should be a scary thought because we are all incessantly taking in the same information and are not learning to research facts nor are we thinking for ourselves.
Shane Parrish, in his article about fake knowledge, says that “It’s bad because we make real, sometimes life altering decisions based on this fakery. Unable to discern between what we know and what we pretend to know, we ultimately become victims of our own laziness and intellectual dishonesty” (source).
As educators, we need to be at the forefront of teaching students how to think for themselves and that starts with being comfortable saying ‘I don’t know’ and creating a culture of honesty in our classrooms.
All sourced information is hyperlinked as applicable above.