Confused about “Confused About…” Posts
Longtime readers will know that every so often I publish a posts whose title starts “Confused About”. The point of these posts is to put a marker down in this public notebook about words, phrases, ideas or stories that seem to make sense to everyone else but that I really don’t get.
They’re me putting my hand up and asking the possibly stupid question, then trying to explain my confusion and the ways in which I’m trying to make sense of the idea.
As educators, we’re forever telling learners not to be afraid of asking the question (“if you have a question, ask it: someone less comfortable even that than you with asking questions probably has the same question too, so you’ll be doing everyone a favour”), not to be afraid of volunteering an answer.
Of course, as academics, we can’t ever be seen to be wrong or to not know the answer, which means we can’t be expected to admit to being confused or not understanding something. Which is b*****ks of course.
We also can’t be seen to write down anything that might be wrong, because stuff that’s written down takes on the mantle of some sort of eternal truthiness. Which is also b*****ks. (This blog is a searchable, persistent, though mutable by edits, notebook of stuff that I was thinking at the time it was written. As the disclaimer could go, it does not necessarily represent even my own ideas or beliefs…)
It’s easy enough to take countermeasures to avoid citation of course – never publish in formal literature; if it’s a presentation that’s being recorded, put some music in it whose rights owners are litigious, or some pictures of Disney characters. Or swear…. Then people won’t link to you.
Anyway, back to being confused… I think that’s why I post these posts…
I also like to think they’re an example of open practice…