2023-11-29 21:39

Kobus van Wyk

How do you treat catagelophobia?

The e-pioneer fights catagelophobia.

Catagelophobia is the fear of being ridiculed.

It is unlike most other phobias where the person experiencing it fears physical harm, such as being bitten by a spider.

Most sufferers of catagelophobia are surprised to learn that they are by no means isolated cases.  It is a rather common fear, but people undergoing it will generally not talk about it out of fear of further ridicule.

Catagelophobia is debilitating, preventing one from enjoying many activities with others.  “They’ll laugh at me if I make a mistake,” is the ever-present dread.  This phobia stops many teachers from using technology – they fear being ridiculed by colleagues and learners if they make mistakes.

The e-pioneer fights catagelophobia, since it hampers the progress of teachers towards the adoption of e-learning.  Anyone embarking on the e-learning road will make mistakes and can’t afford to be plagued by a fear of being ridiculed.

The best way you can help those facing this fear is by showing them that you make mistakes too.  Tell them about your own blunders.  Make some mistakes while training them, and let them know that this happens all the time.  Show them that you have learned to take yourself not too seriously.  Demonstrate to them that when you make a mistake in technology you are unlikely to be ridiculed – learners and colleagues will be so eager to assist if you get stuck that they will not even think about ridicule.

The e-pioneer must be aware of the possibility of this fear.  The fight against it is subtle – in most cases your example will speak louder than words.

Click here for more food for thought for e-pioneers.


  1. Interesting! Once again if we take a lesson from little children we will make good progress.(isn’t that what the Great Teacher said? ) Last week I visited Bridgville where the grade ones were doing group work. The little ones working on the white board were so busy enthusiastically helping the ones who could not write or form the characters that they seemed to have no fear of ridicule, shame or embarrassment. They seemed to have the attitude: “we’re all in this together and we need to help each other through” No doubt practice will make perfect. Perhaps teachers should be encouraged to practice on their own or in small groups so that they don’t feel intimidated.

  2. People get ridiculed whether they make mistakes or not. Even when someone from a dubious background becomes successful, they get ridiculed. The whole idea is to bounce-back but it is not easy and many times one fails at doing this. We have been constantly taught that success breeds success. Is it not a possibility that failure can also lead to success? When one is successful all the time does it not blind people to other possibilities? If one fails, does it not cause one to think and think again? And then the next step is to move on and learn from failure?

    I pepper a lot of my training with anecdotes and stories of failures (including my own) to make people comfortable with technology. This is also done in the hope that they would share their own experiences so that solutions may be found in what we discuss.

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