Earlier today, I saw the tweet to the left and it really spoke to me. I have similarly thought the same thing when it comes to education as well as employee/boss dynamics. We do a disservice to others when we expect them to know everything right off the top of their head. Nobody should be made to feel inferior or “less than” because they were not able to answer every question from memory. Here’s the thing . . . Life is an OPEN BOOK test Yes, there are going to be certain fundamentals that everyone needs to know for their job. However, when you are faced with a challenge, you should not feel bad for having to research the answer or look to others for a solution. One of the guiding principles I take with the engineers on my team is that I want them to ask me questions if they have issues. I want them to know that I am available as a resource to work through problems. One of the worst things you can do with your students of employees is make them feel ashamed to ask questions, because then you get inferior work as they BS their way through it. When that happens, everyone loses. This general concept was introduced to me by a professor in engineering school. All of his exams were open book and he explained us that this mimics real life. Out in the engineering world, you will have time constraints for your projects, but you will also have books available for research. So why not generally re-create that in the classroom? Of course, he wanted to know our individual abilities, so you could not ask others as you can in the real world.
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