Today I’m celebrating re-understanding.
It happens all the time in my classroom. When students believe they know, but their understanding is false.
On Tuesday, I worked with L. L is learning English. To boost the clarity of his written thoughts, we did some shared writing. He used the word really to describe how fast something was moving. I wrote really on the page. He read the sentence and stopped me, pointed to the word really and asked, “What does that word mean?”
I responded half laughing saying it’s the word he used to describe something. We talked about the word’s meaning; about how and why we use the word.
His response at the end was, “Oh. I didn’t know that.”
I love it when he says that. It shows his trust and his stance as a learner.
L was using this word in his spoken language. It took writing it and rereading it for him to realize that he didn’t understand the word. Fascinating from a learning perspective.
This work got me wondering about understanding. How often do we think we know. Or we assume we know. So we don’t question.
Admitting “I don’t know” is hard. For some, it’s close to impossible. Especially when we are supposed to know. But if we are to be learners, we need to find ways to become more like L. Trusting and brave enough to ask: What does that mean.