Ask questions

You do not have to know everything about everything to be an effective teacher.

When teaching technology in particular, do know be afraid to say you do not know. Show them how to react when you do not know something by doing the research with them. Teach students how to ask questions, do research, and do analyzation.

© Convergence Academies
© Convergence Academies


Example for use:

Instead of being afraid to say to your students “I don’t know,” use that moment as a learning experience for you and the students. 

As a teacher there is no way you can be all-knowing. Your job is to facilitate learning  and to show them how to be life-long learners. 

© Convergence Academies
© Convergence Academies

Activity: Stump the Teacher


This teaching technique can be applied to any subject.  Teachers and students alike are life-long learners. The point is, not only is learning fun, but as a rule, no one can know everything. Learning to be curious is important for a life of humility, growth, and open-mindedness. Let us focus on three aspects to this experience: what we know, what we wonder about, and what did we learn?

What do we know, did we learn about clouds, and what do we wonder about clouds?

This project is aimed at students grades 3+


Using the reading assignment for homework, the students will explore different types of clouds categories, how do they form, why are clouds white or gray, why do clouds float or move, why do they sit at different levels of the atmosphere, and what is the difference between clouds and fog?


Before the students do the reading homework, ask the students to discuss what they now know about clouds, and you will write their responses on the board. In the next class, after the reading homework, ask the students about what they learned about clouds from the reading, and write the answers on the board. Next ask what they wonder about? What did the reading not answer? You will want to have some example questions to get them started, and these will be things that you may not know the answer to either.

There are many cloud experiments to allow your students to experience clouds directly. For instance, hand out spoons and have them create vapor. Use a glass jar, strainer, water, and ice cubes to create vapor, and have students use a plastic bottle, matches (with teacher assistance), and warm water to create clouds.


Students will use cameras or phones to photograph and analyze clouds that they see. Have the students print the photographs, and label the back with the date, time, cloud category, and their name. The class will work as a group to attach the images in a chart on a board, sectioned into each category.

Afterwards, group the student to come up with “stump the teacher” questions. Ask the students to formulate questions that after the lesson, they are curious about.


Have your students ask you their questions. You do not have to know any of the answers, so be prepared with a projector to show them how to find answers. Search the web. Grab some books and magazines on the topic from the library to help you out. This final section is to show the students that it is more important to be curious than to feel you know it all.

Inspiration from Teachers

“I can tell you each student’s interest and be able to work off of that…If a student comes up…and asks me a question…I can be like, ‘Come over here and we can maybe research that, or you can find out here and you can tell me…’ I like that when they come to me with questions that are not really related to what we are talking about, but I feel like they are only asking those questions because we have introduced this new method of engagement for them.” –Digital Media Mentor AN

“I am not putting on this hat of authority figure, which I am not at all…we have got to figure it out together or they have to show me, that’s good. That’s an effective form of education.” –Digital Media Mentor AN

“I think maybe that is one of the problems with the current education system is that it is so focused on saying this wasn’t the right answer…there is a different way to get answers.” –Digital Media Mentor AN

“The teachers say they do not know how to do that, but they do because they use phones everyday…’No, you do this. You actually do know how to do it. It is the same thing as when you take a picture and upload it and send it to a friend.’ Or, ‘Do you have Facebook? Yeah, right, you know how to upload a picture. You know how to take a picture.'” –Digital Media Mentor LL

“Some [teachers] are a little bit reluctant…They want to know every exact detail of how exactly it is going to work.” –Digital Media Mentor DM

“It is funny to me that I have this job because I do not think of myself as a tech wiz sort of personality…I have learned to be curious.” –Digital Media Mentor LB

They will totally figure things out and I will learn from them all the time.” –Digital Media Mentor LB

“Students who are picking up on something really fast, I will put them into a role of helping other students who are struggling with something.” –Digital Media Mentor LB

“It is a challenge with this kind of work and with curriculum development. Every time you have this new systematized way of re-imagining something.” –Digital Media Mentor LB

I love learning, and I think the more I am becoming a teacher, the reason I really like it and want to continue is because you learn so much. I feel like it is so funny because they are hanging on your words, but really I am hanging on them. It is so rewarding.” –Digital Media Mentor LL

“It is hard to teach. You can not teach them all things, but hopefully what it will do is it does get them thinking outside of the box. In the end that is what is important.” –Digital Media Mentor LL

I love that about teaching, that it is constantly changing.” –Digital Media Mentor KW

“You have and idea and you figure out how to make it work.” –Digital Media Mentor KW

“Not just the teacher modeling, and then the student does it themselves, but the students learning from each other, which is really important and does not happen enough.” –Digital Media Mentor SM

“A lot of the teaching that I have been doing involves one-on-one, trying to assess where students are in their understanding and then figure out the gaps, and then try to fill them in. Like a Socratic method of giving them hints and then getting them to complete whatever concept themselves…I feel that it is a fairly effective way of getting students to engage with the learning and then build up confidence that they can actually solve things.” –Digital Media Mentor MH

“I hear a lot where it is like, ‘Oh, the kids do not want to do this.’ I always thought it was part of your responsibility is create an environment or understanding where students want to learn whatever you are teaching.” –Digital Media Mentor LS

© Participatory Learning Strategies