[DWJ] Tomatoes

Farah Mendlesohn farah.sf at gmail.com
Thu Aug 9 02:31:35 EDT 2007


On 08/08/07, Sally Odgers <sodgers at iinet.net.au> wrote:
> >Interesting that it doesn't work. Doesn't >work on my kid, either.
>
> Kids are not stupid. NO amount of telling an unmathematical child that
> "maths is fun" will help. S/he already knows it's NOT.
>

You don;t *tell* a child something is fun. Anything in fact. everyone
knows that the more one tells a child something is fun the more wary
they will get. This is irrespective of whether they actually might
like it or not.

As for "unmathematical"...

Japan does not have this concept. They also have incredibly high maths
scores. The entire notion of "unmathematical" is one we frequently
ingrain in children because we are a maths suspicious culture.

Furthermore, something will become fun as we get better at it--being
bad at something is rarely fun, so the equation is the wrong way
around.

Perhaps the problem we start with is trying to argue in the first
place that certain things are fun when they aren't. Better to be
honest and say "this will hurt but you truly will be grateful in the
long term, and it may even become enjoyable when you are better at
it--just like violin practice". Framing long term education goals in
terms of short term satisfaction leads to "lies to children" as you
observe, and also does little to inculcate a culture of deferred
gratification which is one of the central psychological elements in
eventual educational success.

Farah



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