“I can explain it to you, but I can’t understand it for you.”
The hardest part of communication is when the sender expresses the message to best of his or her ability but the receiver cannot wrap their brain around what is being shared.
As a part of each week’s lessons, I include an article or example for my students to evaluate. They are then to respond to a prompt about the excerpt. In a recent journal assignment, I shared an article about research writing and the fact that your words should be the star of the paper and the sources are your supporting characters. I was very surprised to read the response of one student in particular.
Their response said that they had not understood their thoughts and words were to be the star. The student only thought they were supposed to use the words of others as they developed their paper.
Even though our first SIX weeks had been about what interested the students and what their potential thesis and counterarguments would be, that particular student failed to understand that it is the author’s words, thoughts, and opinions that make a paper relevant.
I started to reply to the journal entry with an apology for not being clear on the intent behind their research, but then I asked myself,
“Can I make them understand with an apology?”