This could well be the title of my IB English class.
As a literature teacher, I take advantage of the wealth of texts at my fingertips to probe this very concept.
It is my priority.
On my classroom wall there is a poster that reads:
The world is grey and that's okay.
This is a difficult concept for teenagers to grasp. But an important one. "There’s tremendous uncertainty about a lot of the science of influenza
viruses and there’s therefore a lot of disagreement among scientists, mainly on the topics about which we’re uncertain."
Information like this, as outlined in the Nieman Guide can be applied to pretty much all aspects of life. There is a tremendous uncertainty about a lot of things. Period. And what better way to model and inspire confidence in accepting this, than through literature?
Over the past four years, I have been lucky enough to work with nearly 200 hundred teenagers in my IB cla****. I have witnessed their initial discomfort upon finishing a novel that does not have a conventional plot line. We have had discussions about the frustrations presented when the 'conclusion' of the novel is that it has none; it is left wide open for us to interpret. I have listened to groups analyse, share and try to reach a consensus on a conclusive interpretation (this consensus is never actually reached, by the way).
Yes, students initially struggle to come to terms with uncertainty. But through these exercises, during these discussions, as a result of this sharing, there is an awakening.
Ambiguity presents us with a myriad of possibilities. Ambiguity gives us a voice. Ambiguity breeds ingenuity...
And when this spark is ignited, it is hard to extinguish.
This new understanding inspires trust
These are pre requisites for the future that lies ahead.
When, one day, we are
faced with a global pandemic, a new war or a critical energy crisis, these are strengths that we are all going to need to possess.Recommended reads for coming to terms with uncertainty
:The Sand Child,
Tahar Ben JellounThe Handmaid's Tale,
Margaret AtwoodDeath and the Maiden,
Ariel DorfmanWaiting for Godot,
Samuel BeckettKiss of the Spider Woman,
Manuel Puig"Any Questions?"
(last line of Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale