The Curse of Knowledge
I don’t even want to think what life might be like not knowing how to diagram a sentence.
I have no idea why people can’t grasp pronoun-antecedent agreement. (Everyone needs to be get their binder is just wrong! Period.)
I can’t fathom living a day not knowing the difference between action and linking verbs.
English teachers know what I’m talking about right now. Non-English teachers? Maybe not.
What about math teachers— can you imagine what it’s like seeing the distance formula for the first time? Can you recall the first time someone told you, “To figure out the area of this rectangle, multiply the base times the height”?
Science teachers, what was life like before you understood mitosis? Have you always been able to identify the parts of a microscope or classify animals?
History teachers are well-versed in the balancing of powers, the Bill of Rights, and the early explorers. They understand the feud between Burr and Hamilton, and they know the main reasons the North was able to win the Civil War.
We can’t imagine not knowing these things. This is the curse of knowledge.
Almost daily, we’re introducing new ideas and concepts to students and it’s the first time being exposed to the idea. Can you imagine? Great teachers do. Great teachers have the ability to go back to the pre-knowledge stage and meet kids where they are and bring them along with them.
Today, think about the concept you’re teaching in class. It’s probably hard for you to imagine not knowing it (the curse of knowledge), but I promise you there are students in your class who don’t know it yet. Meet them where they are and do what great teachers do— bring them along with you.
To learn more about the curse of knowledge, let me encourage you to read this 13-page eBook Teaching That Sticks by Chip and Dan Heath. If 13 pages is too much right now, just skip to page 7.