I was just browsing through the most recent Carnival of Education and came across this fantastic post by Loony Hiker (Pat) of Successful Teaching. How often have you heard your students answer a relatively simple question with the words, "I don't know?"
Do they truly not know? Unlikely, most of the time.
Is it a stall for more time? Quite possibly, if you give them more time and they DO answer the question.
It is merely a defense mechanism that they are accustomed to using? Most probably yes.
So how do we get them out of this habit? Read Loony Hiker's post, but please leave your comments here as well, because we ALL have this problem I think, and we are ALL looking for ways to get our kids out of this rut.