‘Any questions?’ asked the teacher. No verbal response. Some students shake their hands and others look around to see the reactions. Some others will not heed as they were not even paying attention to what the teacher was saying.
The day of the exam comes and the grades are poor. However, no one seemed to have any problems before.
The fear to doubt
We fear to show doubt. It seems so foolish to interrupt the flow of the class or just to admit that there is indeed a doubt. Why would I expose myself to public shame? What if I ask and don’t understand it again? Let it go. I can try on my own at home.
It is true that doubting can feel uncomfortable and set us apart in the crowd. We are misinterpreted and have to put up with certain attitudes. We have to tolerate those who have doubts, but who will not tell anyone for fear of being criticised or being disruptive. They choose the nonsensical role of criticising those who are looking for some enlightenment.
Others have doubts too and this seems to be written all over their faces. Yet they prefer the silence and the secret relief of seeing someone else asking the questions they did not dare to ask. They live waiting for someone else do what they fear to do.
The root of the problem is that we live in a society where the idea of being smart means, for many, not to show doubt. Be affirmative and make all efforts to display confidence all the time (as if confidence meant absence of doubt!).
We avoid judgment and want to blend in. Have you ever thought about it? You are afraid to doubt because you do not want to be judged, but you are not afraid to queue up with those who do not know (and do not grow) because they do not ask; because they do not clarify. Does it make any sense?
Freedom is a valuable thing in life. Having things understood frees you. Do not spoil it because you do not want to seem inadequate, picky, disruptive. Clarify your mind, ask for a repeat, check your understanding. Even when the doubt comes later or you remain in doubt, run after those who can help.
Not everyone communicates things in a clear way all the time and teachers are not an exception. Bits of conversations and speeches can be messy, truncated, confusing. Check. Ask. Do that with the right attitude of one who wants to learn. This is not only smart, this is respectful. You want to understand. Choose to be counted among the wise.
Be smarter – dare to doubt!
~ Erica De Monaco Lowry ~