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The Power of ‘Yet’

February 6, 2017

20161219_115849As I travelled from Jakarta by train through the rice fields and lush green countryside on my 6-hour trip across Java to Semarang on Friday, I began reading my latest download: The Growth Mindset Coach: A Teacher’s Month-by-Month Handbook for Empowering Students to Achieve.

After reading the table of contents, one section in particular caught my eye. It was April: There’s a Difference Between Not Knowing and not knowing Yet!’. This caught my attention as it’s something I’ve been challenged with in my new role as a Digital Literacy Coach. I get asked a lot of questions ranging from pedagogical to technical and of course I don’t have all the answers. At first, I felt a bit ‘uncomfortable’ because I couldn’t come up with an answer right away but soon realised that it is perfectly okay to tell colleagues, parents and in particular students that I do not know. Yet. I then go away and find out and get back to them hopefully within a timely manner. This approach has been well received. It is the one thing I have really applied myself to since taking on this role and because there are so many things I do not know (yet).

So I skipped to the April section of the book and began to read in earnest and reflect on my pathway of not knowing ‘yet’. The chapter brought up Carol Dweck’s TED Talk, “The Power of Believing That You Can Improve,”. I went and re-watched it. If you haven’t seen it its about students who didn’t get a fail grade but a grade of ‘not yet’ and the implications of not getting  grade attached to effort. The chapter then goes on to consider the power of formative and summative assessment and the importance we attach to scores and grades. A great read if you get the chance.


One idea that resonated with me was that we need to stop focusing on whether students are knowledgeable and help them become “knowledge-able.” Bringing that back to what I do on a daily basis as sometimes viewed as the ‘Tech Expert’ I find that being “knowledge-able” is a key skill in the role. It’s about having a real learning opportunity to find the answer to and perhaps to even generate more questions and more things form to learn, or at least to uncover things that I might want to learn or be aware of. So in essence by NOT knowing something ‘yet’ has opened doors to an even deeper understanding an level of knowledge than before.

So far after reading and thinking about ‘not yet’ within my own practice, it has helped me to be a better learner and help others.

On to the next chapter….

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