What Does “You Don’t Know… What You Don’t Know…” Really Mean?

A phrase often thrown around in the education world is “you/they don’t know what you/they don’t know.” Whether speaking of student gaps in learning, reluctance of teachers in changing practice, or from administrators and “board people” seemingly not feeling the day-to-day pressures of the classroom, this phrase can be heard as an explanation, support, or sometimes an excuse of inaction.

However, with the start of a new school year – and one with great possibilities for the future of mathematics education – I hope that this phrase can inspire a very different emotion and feeling… curiosity. If students “don’t know what they don’t know”, we must create learning opportunities for them to wonder and make new connections. If educators “don’t know what they don’t know”, we must continue developing an environment where educators feel supported in exploring and integrating new ideas without judgement or pushback. If leaders “don’t know what they don’t know”, we must open our doors and continue inviting these leaders to join students and teachers in their learning journeys.

Most importantly… it is time to change the meaning of  “you don’t know what you don’t know” with one word – “…yet”! Here’s to a great school year of ups, downs, and everything in between!

Until next time…

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