Lately I have been doing a lot of thinking about inhibition, what inhibits people from speaking up, sharing what they think, and why, especially in writing. I find it somewhat ironic in respect to what we ask of students in our classrooms and I would venture to guess of our own children. We encourage them to voice their opinions, not to be a follower, stand up for themselves, take a risk, go out on a limb to contribute in life and in their classes. Yet, when we are asked to do the same with our colleagues we freeze, opt out, find a reason we have nothing worth contributing or say others have already said what we were thinking so we have nothing to add. In essence we don’t do a good job of modeling what we ask of others.
Inhibitions are self- imposed, internal limits we set, why do we do it?
Why do we limit ourselves, what drives our reluctance to speak, act, and share? I know inhibitions are our defense against criticism; we don’t want to give others the opportunity to disagree, but why? Our inhibitions limit our thinking and without thinking we become stagnant, complacent. Aren’t our thoughts and ideas worth the risk, don’t we grow and gain confidence in who we are and what we believe through our interactions? As Chris Lehmann has said “what is the worst consequence of your best idea?” Is it that someone will disagree and you will have to defend your thoughts, what is wrong with that? Through challenge and reflection we have the opportunity to examine what we hold dear, and through those same conversations we may be swayed to look at something from a different perspective, which may cause us to change our thinking, learning together, again what is so bad about that?
We give our students grades for participation, how we would grade ourselves? Isn’t it time we begin to let go of our internal limits, begin talking, sharing ideas, and understand through ongoing dialogue we develop and are more apt to become the people we truly want to be? I know I am ready.