by Constance Davis | March 16, 2011
A country song a few years back asked the question: “What part of no don’t you understand?” It is a question that we sometimes need to ask our learners because some clearly will not believe that NO is the answer, no matter at which level the decision was made.
I know that many of us do not want to hear a NO. And some of us will not accept a NO. But you have to understand that sometimes, the only answer can be a NO. Just because you want to be able to do something does not mean that you will be able to do it. For example, just because you want to take a course that is not in your specialization and for which you do not have prerequisites, it does not mean that you will be able to take that course.
Any time you are given a NO for an answer, it is a safe bet that you are not just given a NO to your request. You are probably also given some reasons why your request can not be granted. Before you explode and begin to verbally abuse the messenger, please step back for a moment to examine the reasons. Let us look at the example of you wanting to take just the one course in another specialization or department. Of course, you have a reason for wanting to take it—perhaps because that one course will lead to licensure in your state. But the course you are looking at is, in fact, the capstone course in that specialization. It is a course that those who are in that specialization have been working toward since they began the program. Or it is the practicum or internship that those in that specialization have been working toward – a practicum or internship that requires a whole host of prerequisites and a demonstration of the individual’s fitness for practice as determined through the coursework process.
Depending upon the specialization and the school, granting permission might put the program’s accreditation status at risk. Programs that require learners to take a practicum or an internship are able evaluate each learner through the coursework and residencies. Programs here and at other institutions are unlikely to allow learners with whom they are not familiar to represent their program in a practicum or internship.
Decision makers have many good reasons for saying NO. Those of us who are told NO need to take a step back, review the reasoning and just move on.