By Catherine Smith, Wizard Training Coordinator, Instructor in WA
One of the most important things you can do in your class is to create a safe place for your students to learn. I always want my students to feel comfortable enough to be able to be themselves, which includes being able to ask questions confidently, and without feeling intimidated. From the very first day, in my introductory talk, I always tell my students that I love questions, and that there is no such thing as a silly question. Unless it’s a silly question. Just kidding. Please ignore the last sentence.
I tell them that if they are unsure about something, then the chances are that at least one other person in the class will probably be unsure as well. I let them know that we all learn at a different pace, and if you don’t understand something right away, that’s ok. Sometimes it takes a while. If everyone knew everything, then nobody would be in the chess class, and I would be out of a job. So by asking questions I get to keep my job!
I also tell my students that I love it when they answer the questions that I ask them. I make sure to emphasize that it doesn’t matter if they get the answer wrong as long as they try. Trying shows that you are thinking. If you get the answer wrong, that’s completely ok. One of the things I love most is when students ask questions. Questions let me know that students are interested in something and curious enough to learn more. To ask or not to ask? This shouldn’t even be a question. Just ask.