Understanding is an integral, yet widely suppressed part of learning.
It involves time, lots of effort, probing questions & genuine curiosity to understand. I’ve met few children who really want to understand. I’ve also met many teachers who either didn’t have the time to invest nor the inclination to assure understanding in their students.
Sounds silly; right? I mean, don’t kids want to learn what they’re doing in school? Wouldn’t they want to pass a test, get good grades, get parents off their backs, or feel competent? Sometimes. Most of the time-no, not really. Most would just prefer a quick fix. Get it done and move on to more mind numbing content. Harsh reality.
Why do you invert and multiply fractions? Why must I read a certain number of books? Why did I have to do long division? Why did I have to learn about Mao Tse-Tung? If it didn’t serve a purpose for me, I wasn’t interested. The sad thing was that when it was engaging, I rarely got an answer. The teacher’s job is to make learning engaging, give it purpose, answer those WHYs, and continually build curiosity.
As a child, I was the annoying one in the classroom. I was the child who wanted to know- WHY?
This explains why I love the WHY? kids. They’re curious. Most teachers are actually bothered by them. But I understand that they want to learn not just for the test, the grade, the due date. They want to learn for understanding.
As a parent & a teacher, I know “Why?” can get really annoying. Who has time for it? But it’s the mad rush to “get it all done” that’s wrecking our lives, our education, our children, and our future.
Why slow down?
Because time and curiosity fuel genuine understanding.
Because genuine learning is worth it.