Saturday, July 16, 2016

Admitting Ignorance

Often times while I was working on analyzing the dataset I came to a problem with my program which I was not sure how to solve, and since I had already taken a class about Python I was sure that I could find some way to fix the problem myself. However, eventually I realized that I did not know how to solve the problem. My pride in my own personal knowledge was impeding my ability to fulfill the job that I was supposed to do, and I noticed that this is not a problem that I only have.

I have only had the opportunity to take three computer programming classes in college, but in all those classes I have been able to meet students who have the same problem I have. They have previous experience programming in the language which is being emphasized in the class and because of that they refuse to listen to the professor because they beleive they know more than the professor. Because of this, they refuse to listen to the professor's advice and often are stuck in office hours with less experience programmers, like myself, scrambling to complete the weekly MPs. 

Bertrand Meyer, professor of software engineering at ETH Zurich, wrote a blog post about this topic and in his blog he wrote "The human mind is flexible; when taught well, many people can learn many subjects. But there is one case of absolute impossibility: you cannot learn something if you think you already know it -- and do not." In order to be succesful at some tasks, we first have to examine what we know and what we dont know and be willing to accept guidance from those who know more than us.

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