IDK…Is Not An Answer


One ticket… really? Says it all. Funny, but we all have many layers too. I gave students a paper discussing and instructing the topic of emotions . All boys, mind you. Many asked if they could write “IDK” for an answer.  They were good-natured about it but not-self aware. Most were missing knowledge of some layers, but then aren’t we all.

The psychology behind this thought is peeling back the layers like an onion. Strip away one layer to find another layer waiting to be explored and peeled back. It is a process. It is life. There is no end just an exploration of the layers, but we can’t explore or stay on the path of discovery if our answers are continuously “IDK.” That stalls the process. We have to go a direction for there to be contrast. This movement in any direction gives us information upon which to base our next move. So, when in doubt … make a decision and see where that takes you. Then another, then another, then another.  Keep moving, keep going, keep seeing contrast and living through it and making the next best decision. Ask, What’s my next best step? It will give you information so you can know what to do next. Keep going. No “IDK” here.

Day Seven: Contrast

This topic is in every breath we take. Breathe in then breathe out. That’s contrast. Apples vs. Oranges could be discussed. Good, bad, ying, yang, opposites could all be supported. Not to mention the political, or religious conversations. 

None of these light me up like the contrast of how different we are in how we learn. I tell students that I’m amazed how in a classroom where simple instructions are given as many translations or interpretations of the instructions as there are people in the room are possible. I see it daily. And yet somehow learning takes place. 

There are the verbal learners. You can hear them a mile away and they feel more secure if they can speak everything out loud! For those students I say, “Do not say everything you think!” And, “Repeat that back to me.”

Next, there are the visual Learners. They stare a look of total absence of cognitive processing unless they can be shown the task at hand through example and illustrations at the least. Don’t speak it, show them! To these folks I say, “Now show me what I just showed you!” They  prefer to replace words with pics.

Another group has been named the tactile kinesthetic or hands-on group. If I can touch it, I can learn. If I can’t, don’t waste my time. They get in trouble for touching everything. Often they break things. They are in learning mode. I have to say, “Observe your personal space, do not touch your neighbor or their belongings.” They get in trouble for invading others personal space. But, they are offered a gold mine when they are asked to ‘DO’ a project!

These are the basic three. There are more, such as mathematical, inter social, intrasocial.  But for here, these three will suffice for the sake of contrast. Which are you? 

None are wrong. None are the only right way. And when a classroom provides opportunity for all 3 to be experienced, more processing takes place. I didn’t say learning. For, really, who can measure that? 

It is interesting to view the strengths and weaknesses of each. And yet the group as a whole will think of all aspects of a project when taught how to collaborate and appreciate all different styles. Diversity at its finest!