Not Knowing It All

Today I was lecturing my Pop Culture Studies class about sit-coms. We talked about the different kinds of characters present in sit-coms and how they’ve changed over the years. And when I got to the section about 4-camera vs. single-camera shooting, I completely blanked.

I could not remember when the first single-camera sit-coms were done.

But I know what my favorite single-camera sit-com is (Sports Night!) so I took a deep breath and said, “I don’t remember when they first started, so if someone finds out, let me know. But I’m pretty sure Sports Night was one of the first single-camera sit-coms.”

About five minutes later, a student in the back raised his hand.

“Um, single-camera sit-coms actually started in the mid-80s. It says here Doogie Howser and The Wonder Years were among the first single-cameras.”

Oof. How could I have forgotton Doogie? And Kevin and Winnie?!

I thanked the student for correcting me and moved on with the lesson. Here’s the thing: I wasn’t then, and I’m not now upset about the exchange. In fact, I’m a little pleased. I admitted in class that I didn’t know something. I invited students to find the answer on their own. And one actually did. Isn’t that what education in the 21st century looks like? At least a little?

Sure, it was a little humbling, but it really didn’t bother me. Should it have?

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