Last week during a lesson on dialogue with a grade four class, I was referring to a store clerk. I didn’t explain what it meant–inadvertently assuming that all students would know. Instead, a brave girl asked me what it was. It was a reminder… don’t assume!
Have you had this experience? For me it happens with both students and teachers. Whoever it is we’re working with, it is essential that we avoid assumptions. Better to err on the side of clarity than presume understanding.
Why do we assume to begin with? In the interest of time… an oversight… a little of both maybe. And yet, each of us have different experiences and have journeyed different paths. When I know there are new Canadians in a class, I am a little more cognizant of slowing down and ensuring clarity. When I’m working with new teachers, I tend to be more explicit with my explanations. But really, we should try to keep this front of mind, always.
If you’re looking for a way to explore this idea with students, try the wordless picture book Gold by Jed Alexander. An unexpected spin on Goldilocks and the Three Bears that challenges our assumptions. Check it out!