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The whys and hows

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Written by   80
11 months ago
Topics: Life, Thoughts

I think teaching kids between the ages of five to eleven can be thought of as one of the most interesting learning experiences anyone can have. Kids are curious by nature and at around four to five, when they begin to learn to talk, their curiosity becomes outspoken and continues to be enhanced throughout the years.

Kids around that age begin to understand and comprehend some things that go on around them. They wonder a whole lot about many things and they are not shy to ask questions usually. Everything they hear and see, it is question of wonder in their curious minds.

It usually starts with a simple observation or sharing of a fact or a little something. It could be as simple as birds fly in the sky or the leaves wither after some time. The response, for a curious kid would be just as simple as the fact, which is a “why?”

Many years back, I had the privilege to tutor kids of that age, a pair of siblings, a brother and a sister. The brother was ten years of age while the sister was six. It was my first experience home tutoring kids that young and what an amusing experience it was.

At that time, I was only tutoring teenagers and the whys from teenagers are fairly predictable based on logical understanding and conclusions. One of my students was a cousin to the pair of siblings and had asked if I could tutor them too. My first thought was “why not?” and that it couldn’t be that hard, could it? Boy boy… I was so wrong.

The arrangement would either be that the students come over to my house or I go to theirs. But considering these kids were young and they lived just behind my house, I decided to walk to their house.

It was the first session and I made it a point to reach their house early, taking into consideration some get-to-know each other time. When I reached, there was an elderly lady in the house and she invited me in, showing me the way to the dining hall, which would be where the session was to be held. I found out later that the elderly lady was their grandmother. 

I sat waiting for the kids to arrive. Their grandmother had earlier called out for them and shouted that the tutor has arrived. Within a few minutes, a boy and a girl came running. When they saw me, they slowed down almost immediately, looking shy and each took a seat next to mine.

After a brief introduction to get to know each other’s names and a quick “how was school” and “how old they were”, I started to look through each of their school workbooks and worked my on-the-spot teaching plan with them. My job was mainly to help them with their homework from school and to make sure that they complete them.

At first, they were both very cooperative, just quietly doing their homework while I worked with them to understand what the questions were asking for. I guessed they were shy and were still trying to get used to me.

Soon after, the little girl started to warm up to me and moved closer to me. She turned to a page of her workbook and began asking questions softly. The brother was still a little distant at his spot, concentrating on his workbook.

The page of the girl’s workbook showed a coconut tree illustration by the beach. Nearby the coconut tree, there was a hut and a man with his monkey. It was a simple context to illustrate the lifecycle of a coconut, from a coconut tree, the coconut falls to the ground and picked up by the monkey or human who would then open, eat the flesh and throw away the seeds. The seeds would be thrown back to the sea and washed ashore to another beach before its lifecycle starts all over again.

The girl asked that I explain the illustration to her and I did according to diagram and some text on the page. Then it began. After every stage of the lifecycle, the girl asked me why. Why does the coconut fall from the tree? Why did the man and monkey pluck the coconut from the tree? Why did they throw the seeds into the sea? Why did the seed get washed ashore to another beach? Why did the seed grow again?

So many questions from the little mind of hers and some, I could answer, or so I thought. But some, seriously, I have never asked the questions before myself and had no idea. In fact, I thought she asked pretty good questions. I was literally sweating trying to figure out an answer to each question.

When the brother saw how warmed up his sister was getting with me, he started to ask questions too. His questions were more in-depth and were added with another layer of how. How did the coconut fall by itself? How did the monkey pluck the coconut from the tree? How did the seed get washed to another shore?

I was feeling quite nervous at one point, trying to think of answers but I think I managed to answer them all, best to my imagination and understanding. I think by the end of the session, they were satisfied by the answers, I think. One thing I found out about kids asking questions is that they would not stop until they are satisfied with the answer.

It was a two-hour tuition session and I think by the end of it, I was exhausted. But I was very impressed by their level of curiosity and I learn from them too, without a doubt. It was just the first session and I couldn’t wait for the next but I was nervous too. I felt challenged really but I was motivated to do my homework the next time I do my session with them. What a wonderful learning experience and I knew I must encourage them to continue asking questions because it is how they learn and grow.

As we grow older, we must not stop asking the whys and hows for whatever reason although many times, as adults, we tend to do so. When the whys and the hows stop coming, when we stop asking questions, when we start to feel that it is all pointless or when we start feeling shy to ask, the learning takes a halt. We must not go there. Always ask, search for answers and feed our curious minds.

Image source: https://unsplash.com/photos/8Fzn3XsIbxI

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Written by   80
11 months ago
Topics: Life, Thoughts
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Comments

Haha yes, children are very curious and ask a lot of questions. As we get older we tend to not like those who ask too many questions though. Just look at the social media posts on Twitter or Facebook. Everyone is either getting riled up or annoyed with some people who ask certain questions they don't like to hear. Lol.

Ah the innocence of childhood questions is so much better and easier to answer. Once we become adults our egos get affected by certain questions. Yes I agree we must not stop asking the hows and whys because if we do the world will be much worse for everyone.

$ 0.05
10 months ago

Kids don't care, they just say whatever they want haha and you know what, most times, their questions are pretty smart questions. Even I was stunned. Haha.

You are right. Ego comes into play as we get older. And we need to be politically correct too when we ask questions. Nobody likes a smart ass and we need to find the right time and place to ask the questions. Tricky tricky :D

$ 0.00
10 months ago

You hit the nail in the head here! My mother is a teacher, and as the classes are currently online she is teaching from home. I can say it's a very hard and commendable job to even try teaching these kids. It's sometime hilarious when they go completely off topic and just start talking among themselves about any random thing. Ohh, and the excuses that they make ! It's super cute! Lot of patience and effort is needed especially when the teaching mode is not in person.

$ 0.05
10 months ago

Hahah yes!! Kids do say the darnest things! Have you watched that show before? But they are adorable. Their little minds work wonders and it is always a good laugh to listen to them. Oh dear, I can imagine how challenging it is for your mother. It is already hard to keep them focused in a classroom but online, gosh, the number of distractions from everywhere! All the best to her and hopefully, things will get better soon for all of us. Sorry, I am trying to give you a little something for your comment but it kept failing. Will try again tomorrow.

$ 0.02
10 months ago

Which show are you referring to? Sorry didn't get it.

$ 0.00
10 months ago