Coping with the Curse of Knowledge (and Yes, You May Have It Too)

Having never viewed myself as an expert and periodically believed I’m an imposter just waiting to be found out, I went a long time without worrying about the so-called curse of knowledge. I couldn’t possibly know too much math and chemistry, the content I teach. I associated the curse of knowledge with the difficulties experts have in bringing their extensive knowledge of the content “down” to the level of students in their introductory courses. In my nonexpert world, when concepts seemed easy to me, I assumed they were easy for everyone. I freely admitted and reminded my students that I had “done this many times.” But I also held fast to the belief that if they simply did the work, it would be easy for them as well.

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