Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Questions, Questions, All Day Long

Just like her brothers who were such inquisitive preschoolers, the Dolly, who is nearly 5-years-old, is also asking lots of fascinating questions.

In the car on a rainy day....
'What does the thunder do to the rain? Why is there thunder?'

After turning off the TV for me....
'How does electricity work? How does the electricity make the TV work?'

When drinking a glass of water at dinner one day....
'Why is the ocean blue when water is actually transparent?'

While sitting beside me to colour a picture she drew....
'Can we revive a person from death? Do we go to Heaven to revive them?'

As we were on the topic of people who decide to become vegetarians....
'If someone decides to eat only fruits, is that person called a fruitarian? How come fruitarians eat only fruits but vegetarians eat vegetables and fruits?'

While playing Othello with me...
'How does the White part get stuck to the Black part of the piece?'

It is a norm that children this age are inquisitive.

When we have the opportunity to raise or interact closely with many children and if we listen to their line of questioning carefully, we will also realise quickly that while every child will ask questions, there will be some who ask more questions than others even when faced with the same stimuli.

And there will be some who not only will ask more questions, they ask more complex questions that reflect a deeper understanding of the topic and a more thorough reflection on their part.

I firmly believe that every child is fully capable of being trained to reach this stage earlier than later, if only they are shown how to question.

The boys still ask all kinds of questions everyday, but these days, their questions in Science are sometimes too advanced that I have to google the answers or send them off to research for themselves.

While I do not always have the answers ready for them, I am always more interested and impressed if they have more questions than I could answer, a fact that the boys know all too well since they were little.

Besides the usual science and technology related topics that intrigued young boys, I also really enjoy our discussions on psychology, current affairs, finance, economics, law and politics where I can still have plenty to offer them to open their minds.

It is so satisfying to watch them listen intently as I describe and explain, followed often by fierce debate/exchange of ideas before they settle into a state of quiet reflection of whatever that we have just discussed. Very often, they would demonstrate their understanding of previously discussed issues in future discussions.

Of course, there were times when, due to their innocence and lack of life experience, they might not fully comprehend the complexities of issues. That was when they would ask lots of questions and the more they asked, the deeper we delved.

Some people may think that it is a waste of time/energy since the kids will eventually learn about them when they are older, so why bother now. I beg to differ.

We do not know what we do not know. Unless they are first exposed to topics beyond the obvious, they will not know if they could or would be interested and they definitely would not have any chance to understand them.

A relative had once asked, 'Are there advantages to understanding such advanced topics?' after I revealed that the boys were discussing the election results and politics with me and how I had also spent time explaining the differences between capitalism, socialism and communism and their pros/cons and had healthy debates with them. This is a relative who thinks that precious time should only be spent learning information that will be tested in school exams and the PSLE.

If we are measuring advantages only by one's ability to score better at exams, then I will be honest that there is probably none. But I am more interested in the advantages that come with opening up a child's mind and eyes to how the world he lives in actually works.

Why do we even want to limit their intelligent minds to only learning whatever that the Ministry of Education, teachers and national exams are dictating?

I like to think that I have spent a lot of time developing their thinking through instructional scaffolding since they were little and I certainly will not be slowing down now. I have lofty goals and they have little to do with the three-digits printed in the PSLE result slip.


Anonymous said...

Your girl asks very interesting questions! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Give me many ideas. I have put my children on wait list for your new classes. Hoping very hard we can get a place soon. Thank you.. - A's mum

Domesticgoddess said...

Thanks A's mum for your comment. I am happy to share. While children are naturally curious, how we respond and fuel their curiosity is key to fostering their inquisitiveness, otherwise up to a certain point, they will stop to question. Looking forward to having both kids in class next month so we can exchange more ideas. See you soon!


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