eduatl180: Anna Sterne 9.28.11
Overheard today as students worked in groups to complete a logic puzzle:
Student A: “This might sound crazy, but maybe Ben and Ken committed all three crimes, and Sven didn’t commit any of them.”
Student B: “No, that doesn’t sound right.”
Student C: “Yeah, I agree with Student B.”
Student A: “But— Ok.”
So, I have a few thoughts about this exchange.
It strikes me that some of us are too quick to back down from what we instinctively believe to be true. It took two peers and four seconds for this student to temporarily give up on her line of reasoning. She got quiet and sat back as her peers worked through the problem. She was right all along, by the way, and I watched with interest as her group eventually came to the same conclusion that she had so quickly been able to determine. Her lack of persistence and the group’s swift dismissal of a unique idea puzzled me.
My second thought about this exchange is that, often, great ideas begin with the words, “This might sound crazy, but…” While this activity was just a quick logic “warm-up” for class, Student A reached her solution by thinking creatively and going against the grain of what was expected. So often, it is this type of thinking that we need most.
This was a nice reminder to me of the importance of remaining open to the contributions of everyone in the group and giving voice to those ideas that might sound crazy.
Anna Sterne (@SterneTeach) is a middle school English teacher at The Lovett School.