In my classes we are doing a project in pairs to explore genes, traits and other genetic concepts. One of my teaching goals, most of the time, is to not answer student questions directly but to encourage them to think.
In my professional development classes and in the research reading I've done, it seems students stop, or significantly decrease, their thinking when teachers give them an answer. I make a concentrated effort to encourage and encourage them some more to think the situation/problem through and arrive at their own conclusion.
Yesterday there were two students who were struggling with the exercise. One was energetic and the other was doubtful and not contributing a lot of positive thinking to the work that needed to be accomplished. It was an excellent opening for me to share the law of the garbage truck with the class......
A husband and wife were on vacation in NYC when they hopped in a taxi and took off for Grand Central Station. They were driving in the right lane when, all of a sudden, a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of them. Their taxi driver slammed on his breaks, skidded, and missed the other car's back end by just inches! The driver of the other car, the guy who almost caused a big accident, whipped his head around and started yelling bad words at us. Their taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. So, they said, "Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!" And this is when their taxi driver told them what is known as, "The Law of the Garbage Truck." Many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it. And if you let them, they'll dump it on you. When someone wants to dump on you, don't take it personally. You just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. You'll be happy you did. So this was it: "The Law of the Garbage Truck."