Question Your Assumptions

It was clear to me from the beginning that I was going to struggle with some of the learning activities throughout the week. I consider myself to be a traditional learner, and have come to find pleasure in the expected lecture-note-test routine of the conventional classroom.

But now I was being asked to talk. And while talking, I was to avoid simple regurgitation of readings and definitions. I was supposed to share and to discuss. And this sharing and discussion often came in the form of group work, which just happens to be one of my least favorite activities in life. Yes, in life!

Why should I share? And more importantly, why do I have to listen to others share? We are not the experts! I am not paying to listen to people other people share.

In addition to this sharing component, Medin spoke to us about the internal dialogue Ontario Trillium Foundation is currently going through, and the importance of questioning their own assumptions and practices about how they do funding. OTF was asking itself these so-called “wicked questions”, trying to figure out what exactly it is striving for.

But, why should I question my assumptions? I wanted other people to question their assumptions, because theirs were wrong and mine were right!

Martin, K. (2013, October 12). Being Human Part 3 – I’m Right You’re Wrong! – We All Do It. Kelly Martin Speaks. Retrieved from

Martin, K. (2013, October 12). Being Human Part 3 – I’m Right You’re Wrong! – We All Do It. Kelly Martin Speaks. Retrieved from

There were times throughout the week, especially when it came to discussions around monitoring and evaluation, were I truly felt like I was in the minority. Someone said that impact evaluation was like “handcuffs” for the third sector, and I remember thinking to myself that person was so jaded and so wrong. How could they make such a judgement? How could they hold such assumptions? How could they think that way?

I think my internal frustration surrounding sharing and questioning assumptions impeded my ability to even try and question my own assumptions. It was a continuous struggle for me throughout the course. Sometimes, I even felt like I was being punished by “majority rule”.

How was I supposed to question my own assumptions if other people didn’t?


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