Sometimes, they really meant it. But have you ever suspected that your kids may know more than they let on and are using "I don't know" often as an easy response to your questions?
Over the years, I have learnt to differentiate the true meanings behind all these "I don't know" replies that my kids and students gave to my questions.
To begin with, I do ask hundreds of questions a day. Yes, hundreds of questions.
I know all too well, that my kids, like all kids, will pick the easy way out and patronise me with "I don't know" to save themselves the trouble of furnishing me with details unless they see a huge incentive. It was especially so when my kids were younger. Now, I hear "I don't know" less frequently because they know I do not accept such quick responses easily.
I see the same reactions and responses from my students, especially the ones who are new to my programmes.
Usually, those who have attended my classes for a while will learn to reflect on their own "I don't know" and figure out how they could better phrase their responses to my questions. Of course, my students and own kids have been taught and shown how to reflect and identify the true reasons behind their "I don't know".
Naturally, this learning process takes time to develop, but the earlier we start teaching them this important skill of reflecting on their own "I don't know" and realising what exactly they do not know, the sooner they will master it.
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